Stamps of Archimedes
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Issued October 19, 2013
Stamp honoring the 2300th anniversary of the birth of Archimedes (circa 287 BC to AD 2013).

The two diagrams are from T. L. Heath’s translation of Archimedes’ works (The Works of Archimedes, Cambridge University Press, 1897). The top diagram is on page 28 and illustrates Proposition 21 of On the Sphere and Cylinder I. This proposition is one of a series of technical lemmas leading to Archimedes’ expressions for the surface area of a sphere (Proposition 33), the volume of a sphere (Proposition 34), the surface area of a segment of a sphere (Propositions 42-43), and the volume of a sector of a sphere (Proposition 44).

The bottom diagram is from page 306 and illustrates Proposition 5 of Book of Lemmas. It is one of three propositions concerning certain properties of a geometric figure known as the arbelos.

The background contains some of the digits of pi, sometimes known as Archimedes’ constant.

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 395 x 515 pixels, 56K
   600 dpi, 790 x 1030 pixels, 2.2M

Issued May 2, 1983
Scott Catalog Number 1559
One of a set of two in the 1983 Europa series

The image of Archimedes represented on the stamp is from a bust in the National Museum of Naples, Italy. However, the bust actually is one of Archidamos III, a third-century BC king of Sparta.

Also depicted is an Archimedes screw. As is typical of such illustrations, the helical blades are not drawn properly and the way in which water is trapped in the device is incorrectly shown. The artist also has water flowing uphill as it leaves the top of the screw.

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 523 x 401 pixels, 77K
   600 dpi, 1047 x 803 pixels, 175K

Issued April 28, 1983
Scott Catalog Number 1460
One of a set of two in the 1983 Europa series

The illustration of Archimedes is adapted from a Renaissance mosaic depicting his death. His head, however, is from the bust used in the Italian stamp above.

In the background is a diagram of a laboratory apparatus commonly used to demonstrate Archimedes' Law of Buoyancy.

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 400 x 548 pixels, 83K
   600 dpi, 800 x 1096 pixels, 194K

Issued April 21, 1982
Scott Catalog Number 1021
One of a set of ten honoring famous scientists.

The head depicted on this stamp is the same erroneous bust of Archimedes used in the Italian and Greek stamps above. A sphere and circumscribing cylinder appear in the upper right, representing the diagram Archimedes had inscribed on his tombstone.

San Marino is a tiny independent republic embedded within Italy with a population of about 30,000.

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 335 x 387 pixels, 33K
   600 dpi, 670 x 775 pixels, 84K

Issued 2008

The image of Archimedes on this stamp appears on a Soviet postcard printed in 1957, which was based on the same erroneous bust of Archimedes used in the three stamps above. The asteroid depicted represents one officially named “3600 Archimedes” discovered in 1978.

Guinea-Bissau is a small republic on the western coast of Africa.

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 475 x 490 pixels, 60K
   600 dpi, 950 x 980 pixels, 220K

(DDR = Deutsche Demokratische Republik = German Democratic Republic = the former East Germany 1949-1990)
Issued November 13, 1973
Scott Catalog Number 1501
One of a set of six stamps depicting the paintings of old masters.

The stamp illustrates a painting believed to represent Archimedes entitled "Portrait of a Scholar" by the Italian painter Domenico Fetti (1589-1624) located in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Dresden, Germany).

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 430 x 700 pixels, 78K
   600 dpi, 860 x 1400 pixels, 180K

Issued March 24, 1963
Scott Catalog Number 1159
One of a set of ten issued to honor the Spanish painter José de Ribera (1591-1652).

This stamp illustrates a painting of Archimedes completed by Ribera in 1630 and now located in the Museo del Prado (Madrid, Spain).

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 378 x 430 pixels, 56K
   600 dpi, 757 x 861 pixels, 208K

Issued May 15, 1971
Scott Catalog Number C765
One of a set of ten issued to celebrate "Las 10 formulas matematicas que cambiaron la faz de la tierra."

This stamp honors Archimedes' Law of the Lever (Ley de Arquimedes: F1x1 = F2x2), illustrating it with a set of scales.

Enlarged views:
   300 dpi, 512 x 347 pixels, 49K
   600 dpi, 1024 x 694 pixels, 105K

The stamp images on this page are displayed at a resolution of 75 dpi and so will appear actual size on monitors of similar resolution. For stamps with images of other mathematicians see a web site maintained by Jeff Miller.