Archimedes was a mathematician and inventor, born in Syracuse, Sicily, about 287 B.C. He became famous for his law of the lever and for inventing the catapult, parabolic mirror, and the mechanical crane that was capable of capsizing a ship by overturning it. These inventions were designed to defend Syracuse during the Second Punic War, which were waged between Rome and Carthage. While Archimedes made fundamental contributions to physics, his greatest contributions were to theoretical mathematics. Some of his works have come down to us. When Syracuse was taken in 212 B.C., Archimedes was killed by the Roman soldiers, being at the time intent upon a mathematical problem.