Thales


Thales was from Miletus (a Greek city-state in Ionia) And was born about 625 BCE and died around 545 BCE. He is generally acknowledged to be the first philosopher and scientist in the West. Many stories and discoveries are attributed to him, but many of these are currently doubted as true. He was included in the famous Seven Sages of Greece. He is known to have put forth the theory that everything in the cosmos is made of one common element, which he believed was water, supposedly being the first to put forth a theory of one common substance that makes up all things as well as making the step to the belief that the physical universe could be understood by man rather than just utilizing myths or mysticism to explain natural phenomena. And he thought that the Earth rested on water.The historian Herodotus wrote that Thales helped the ill-fated armies of Croesus cross the river Hayls by diverting the river up stream causing it to flow on both sides of the army and thereby making the river fordable on both sides. He supposedly realized that eclipses are caused by the moon coming between the earth and the sun, and he also supposedly predicted the lunar eclipse on May 28, 585 BCE, as well as speculated on the distance of the moon and the sun from Earth. However, If he did predict this eclipse he probably got his knowledge of lunar eclipse cycles somehow from the Babylonians. Babylonia had discovered the cycle of lunar eclipses to be approximately 19 years a long time before Thales' time. Thales was a geometer who may have discovered some theorems, which allowed him to be able to tell the distance of a ship out at sea from the land, and there is a story in Diogenes Laertius that Thales found out the height of the pyramids by measuring their shadow at the time of day when his shadow was just as long on the ground as he was tall. He believed that motion is caused by souls, and supposedly because he observed the movement of iron towards a magnet he believed that every object has a soul.

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