Abstract / Synopsis

Good mathematics stands the test of time. As culture changes, we often ask different questions, bringing new perspectives, but modern mathematics stands on ancient discoveries. Isaac Newton’s discovery of calculus (along with Leibniz) may seem old but is predated by Archimedes’ findings. Current mathematics students should be familiar with parabolas and simple curves; in our introductory calculus courses, we teach them to compute the areas under such curves. Our modern approach derives its roots from Newton’s work; however, we have filled in many of the gaps in the pursuit of mathematical rigor. What many students may not know is that Archimedes solved the area problem for parabolas long before the use of algebraic expressions became mainstream. Archimedes used the geometry of the ancient Greeks, which gave him a vastly different perspective. In this paper we provide both Archimedes’ and Newton’s proofs involving the quadrature of the parabola, trying to remain true to their original texts as much as feasible.



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