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Eureka is ancient Greek ( ηὕρηκα ) and is called "I found [it]." The saying is passed down and known mainly in connection with Archimedes of Syracuse . Grammatically it is the 1st person singular indicative perfect active of εὑρίσκειν "(er) find, discover".


The pronunciation [ ˈhɔɪreka ], which is widespread in German, does not correctly reproduce the original pronunciation. In classical Greek this was roughly [ hɛːǔ̯rɛːka ] (spelling ηὕρηκα ), later [ heǔ̯rɛːka ] (spelling εὕρηκα ). In today's Greek it is [ ˈevrika ] (spelling εύρηκα).

Origin and use

The exclamation became famous after an anecdote handed down by Plutarch and Vitruvius , according to which Archimedes of Syracuse was naked and according to Eureka! Shouting through the city after he discovered the Archimedean principle named after him in the bathtub . Since then, Heureka has been used as a joyful exclamation after the successful solution of a difficult (mostly intellectual) task and is also a synonym for a sudden realization.

The motto was also used by the famous mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauß . When he discovered in 1796 that any positive whole number can be represented as the sum of a maximum of three triangular numbers, he wrote the following line in his notebook: “ΕΥΡΗΚΑ! num = Δ + Δ + Δ “.

"Eureka" is the state motto of the US state California . Some cities in the US are named after this saying. See also Eureka for other names derived from this saying.

Web links

Wiktionary: heureka  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge : Etymological dictionary of the German language. Edited by Elmar Seebold . 24th, revised and expanded edition. De Gruyter, Berlin et al. 2002, ISBN 3-11-017473-1 , p. 410.
  2. Harro Heuser : Ordinary differential equations. Introduction to teaching and use. 5th revised edition. Teubner, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-519-42227-1 , p. 88.
  3. ^ Vitruvius on Architecture , IX: Introduction: 9-12, translation into English and original text in Latin .
  4. ^ Klaus Mainzer : Symmetries of Nature. A handbook on the philosophy of nature and science. De Gruyter, Berlin et al. 1988, ISBN 3-11-011507-7 , p. 630.
  5. Marcus du Sautoy : The music of the prime numbers. On the trail of the greatest puzzle in mathematics. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-52320-X , p. 71.
  6. California State Motto | Eureka! I have found it! Retrieved November 17, 2018 .