Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus (/ˈθlz/ THAY-leez; Greek: Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), Thalēs; c.624/623  – c.548/545 BC) was a Greek mathematician, astronomer and pre-Socratic philosopher from Miletus in Ionia, Asia Minor. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition,[1][2] and he is otherwise historically recognized as the first individual known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy.[3][4] He is often referred to as the Father of Science.[5][6]

Thales of Miletus
Bornc. 626/623 BC
Ancient Greek city of Miletus (present-day Turkey)
Diedc. 548/545 BC (aged c.78)
EraPre-Socratic philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas

Thales is recognized for breaking from the use of mythology to explain the world and the universe, and instead explaining natural objects and phenomena by naturalistic theories and hypotheses, in a precursor to modern science. Almost all the other pre-Socratic philosophers followed him in explaining nature as deriving from a unity of everything based on the existence of a single ultimate substance, instead of using mythological explanations. Aristotle regarded him as the founder of the Ionian School and reported Thales' hypothesis that the originating principle of nature and the nature of matter was a single material substance: water.[7]

In mathematics, Thales used geometry to calculate the heights of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. He is the first known individual to use deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales' theorem. He is the first known individual to whom a mathematical discovery has been attributed.[8]