Archytas and Optics

@article{Burnyeat2005ArchytasAO,
  title={Archytas and Optics},
  author={M. Burnyeat},
  journal={Science in Context},
  year={2005},
  volume={18},
  pages={35 - 53}
}
Argument This paper is detective work. I aim to show that the brilliant Pythagorean mathematician Archytas of Tarentum was the founder of ancient Greek mathematical optics. The evidence is indirect. (1) A fragment of Aristotle preserved in Iamblichus is one of two doxographical notices to mention Pythagorean work in optics. (2) Apuleius credits Archytas with a theory of visual rays which saves the principle that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. I argue that the source… Expand
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