Picture of Thales
The Bettmann Archive. From engraving by A. Tardieu from sculpture found at Tivoli.
Thales was a Greek philosopher who lived between 624-546 BC. Although none of his writings survive, we have learned of his work through the writings of others.
Thales is considered the father of Greek science, mathematics, and philosophy. He is the first person to have asked questions about the nature of the universe and considered the answers without thinking of gods or demons. His renunciation of mythology was a crucial step in scientific reasoning and led to an intellectual explosion which lasted hundreds of years.
Thales believed in an ordered universe composed of fundamental particles, which he mistakingly believed to be water molecules. He also used Egyptian and Babylonian astronomical records to predict an eclipse in 585 BC.
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