History lessons: Let inspiration strike - Archimedes

The great Greek mathematician clearly had a lot going on upstairs, but even he had trouble getting the cogs moving sometimes. Take his famous 'eureka' moment. Syracuse's King Hiero entrusted Archimedes with an important task: he'd had a gold crown made and wanted to know whether the smith was conning him by adding in silver. The teaser was apparently proving too much even for Archimedes - until inspiration struck in the bath. Noticing how the water level rose as he got in, he realised this was a way to measure the crown's density. Less water would be displaced if the crown was pure gold than if it contained silver, a less dense metal. Legend has it that the great thinker was so pleased with the discovery that he leapt up and ran naked through the streets shouting: 'Eureka!' ('I've found it!'). Next time you face a taxing conundrum, copy Archimedes: step back, take time to relax and you may have a eureka moment of your own. Just don't get carried away in your celebration.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

What happens to your business if you get COVID-19?

Three bosses who caught coronavirus share their tips.

NextGen winners: The firms that will lead Britain's recovery

Agility, impact and vision define our next generation of great companies.

Furlough and bias: An open letter to business leaders facing tough decisions

In moments of stress, business leaders default to autopilot behaviours, with social structural prejudices baked...

The ‘cakeable’ offence: A short case study in morale-sapping management

Seemingly trivial decisions can have a knock-on effect.

Customer service in a pandemic: The great, the good and the downright terrible ...

As these examples show, the best businesses put humanity first.

How D&I can help firms grow during a crisis

Many D&I initiatives will be deprioritised, postponed or cancelled altogether in the next three months....