During 10 AD a mathematician emerged in the classical age who transformed the landscape of mathematical science, Hero of Alexandria. Being the greatest experimenter of antiquity he represents the Hellenistic scientific tradition in Roman Egypt. He invented several equipments among which was steam-powered device called an aeolipile. His most well-known invention was a windwheel that helped harness the wind for agricultural and other purposes. He was influenced by Ctesibius’ work and some of his works are inspired by him.
The historians feel fairly certain that Hero lectured at Musaeum and the famous Library of Alexandria. It is established based on the fact that most of his work that survived through the ages in writing is in the form of lecture notes on mathematics, mechanics and physics. Furthermore, his work is considered to be the first venture into the study of cybernetics that was not formally introduced in studies until twentieth century.
Aeolipile, currently the modified version known as Hero’s engine, was the first ever recorded steam engine that appeared to be like a reaction engine. It was an amazing invention considering that the industrial revolution didn’t occur for another two millennia. Besides, he is credited for the construction of first vending machine. In his time the vending machine worked for the purpose of dispensing holy water. When a coin was inserted via a slot on the top side of the machine it would eject certain amount of holy water. He wrote a book titled Mechanics and Optics, which includes these inventions. The mechanics of the vending machine allowed the water to dispense when the coin pressed the lever by falling into a pan it was attached to. This way the weight of the coin raised the lever that opened up the valve that let out some amount of water.
The invention of the windwheel was another feather in his cap. Moreover it was the first ever instance in the history of wind-powered machine. It was the age when Greek theater was at its peak. Therefore, Hero’s contribution to this domain of life was quite inevitable. He ended up inventing the mechanism for Greek theater by mechanizing the system of ropes, rotting cylinders that operated the machines that produced a mechanical play for the duration of ten minutes. Different sounds were produced through these mathematically calculated mechanics. Another of Hero’s service is to the area of optics where he formulated the principle of the shortest path of light. A millennia later the same principle was expanded by Alhacen to refraction and reflection.
Hero contributed to the medicinal world by inventing a device similar to a modern day syringe which served the purpose of delivery of liquid and air. Additionally, he introduced a method for iteratively computing the square root of a number. Hero’s formula is associated with finding the area of a triangle. Self-contained hydrostatic energy powered standalone fountain was also one of his inventions. Similar to other mathematicians and inventors of classical age much of his original writings couldn’t survive through ages. In fact, much of his work is preserved in Arabic manuscripts and what is preserved sheds light on the mathematics and engineering of Babylonia.