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Eudoxus of Cnidus

Eudoxus of CnidusBorn: c. 390 BC
Birthplace: Cnidus, Asia Minor
Died: c. 340 BC
Location of death: Cnidus, Asia Minor
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Pagan
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Mathematician, Astronomer

Nationality: Ancient Greece
Executive summary: Influential Greek mathematician

Eudoxus, of Cnidus, Greek savant, flourished about the middle of the 4th century BC. It is chiefly as an astronomer and mathematician that his name has come down to us. From a life by Diogenes Laėrtius, we learn that he studied at Athens under Plato, but, being dismissed, passed over into Egypt, where he remained for sixteen months with the priests of Heliopolis. He then taught physics in Cyzicus and the Propontis, and subsequently, accompanied by a number of pupils, went to Athens. Towards the end of his life he returned to his native place, where he died. Strabo states that he discovered that the solar year is longer than 365 days by 6 hours; Vitruvius that he invented a sundial. The Phaenomena of Aratus is a poetical account of the astronomical observations of Eudoxus. In astronomy he described constellations, and attempted a model of the solar system. Several works have been attributed to him, but they are all lost; some fragments are preserved in the extant work of the astronomer Hipparchus. According to Aristotle's Ethics, Eudoxus held that pleasure was the chief good, because (1) all beings sought it and endeavored to escape its contrary, pain; (2) it is an end in itself, not a relative good. Aristotle, who speaks highly of the sincerity of Eudoxus's convictions, while giving a qualified approval to his arguments, considers him wrong in not distinguishing the different kinds of pleasure and in making pleasure the summum bonum. Eodoxus' contributions in mathematics lie in the the science of proportions and magnitudes, on which sections of Euclid are at least part based. Though his works are largely lost, he was a mathematician of the highest importance, with lasting influence throughout antiquity.

    Lunar Crater Eudoxus (44°N, 16°E, 67km dia., 3350m height)



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