Saturday, January 26, 2013


What can we learn from famous personalities, be they scientists, business icons or artists?

I can still recall the vivid tale we read in our science book eons ago about the discovery of the Archimedes Principle: the upthrust experienced by a body immersed in a fluid. Apparently, he proclaimed Eureka! - a word derived from the ancient Greek word heureka, meaning I find - when he stepped into a bathtub and understood that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body that was submerged. The story has it that he was so excited about his discovery that he ran naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting Eureka!

So, what can we learn from Archimedes apart from the amusing spectacle of a disheveled-looking flasher shouting Eureka!?

Was his discovery of the Archimedes Principle the result of a stroke of good luck, much like striking a lottery? Like Sir Isaac Newton who discovered the law of gravity after an apple fell on his head, Archimedes's discovery was not pure luck. If at all it was luck, it was luck that was caused by the collision of two speeding cars: HARD WORK and OPPORTUNITY.


Apart from the one-in-a-million chance lottery winner, success for most people comes from hard work and perseverance. If Archimedes had not been thinking and working hard in trying to solve this problem, I doubt if he'd have had his breakthrough Eureka moment.