Pythagoras of Samos (Below Right, holding book) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician, who lived from somewhere around 569 BC to around 475 BC. He is known as the “father of numbers”, though he also made contributions to philosophy, ethics, politics, music, metaphysics and religion. He believed that everything was related to mathematics, and that, through mathematics, everything could be measured, analyzed, and then predicted.
As a young man, he left Samos, a Greek island off of Asia minor and traveled to Italy to escape Samos’ tyranic government. He helped reform the cultural life of Croton, his town, by helping promote ethics and virtue.
Pythagoras studied many subjects, and made many well known discoveries (or pseudo-discoveries). He helped discover things like Square Roots, and members of his circle helped discover irrational numbers. In addition to the Pythagorean Theorem, he did many studies in the field of music and discovered that musical notes could be translated into mathematics. This lead to his discovery about the tuning of instruments, which uses the ratio 2/3 to find each note in relation to the other notes.
In philosophy, Pythagoras made many strides, teaching his students and others about his theories on the subject. He is famously quoted as saying “No man is free who cannot command himself”, something definitely echoed in our Western Democratic system of government.
In other roles, he made strides like realizing that the Earth is round and that the planets travel around a central point, although he believed the Moon was another planet that he called “Counter-Earth”. He had some slightly odd and strange beliefs, too, such that odd numbers were masculine and even numbers feminine, and that “One was reason, two was opinion, four was justice, and five was marriage”.