Download Ancient Puzzles: Classic Brainteasers and Other Timeless by Dominic Olivastro PDF

By Dominic Olivastro

Match wits with the good minds of the world’s maximum civilizations during this interesting selection of historical conundrums, brainteasers, and mind-benders.
• What do prehistoric bone markings and smooth desktop technology have in common?
• What is the secret of pi that stumped generations of historic mathematicians?
• What are the traditional puzzle origins of well known video games resembling tic-tac-toe and chess?
• Can you remedy the puzzles posed to emperor Charlemagne by way of Alcuin of York?
• What’s the key lore at the back of magic squares that captured the mind's eye of chinese language emperors, Persian mystics, and Benjamin Franklin?
Dominic Olivastro offers a favored heritage of arithmetic via concentrating on the puzzles that civilizations posed for his or her personal schooling and leisure. listed here are vintage “puzzle difficulties” from historical Africa, Egypt, Persia, China, and Greece and from cultures and texts spanning the center a long time and the Renaissance all of the technique to the present.
each one puzzle is associated with insightful people and medical background that is helping make clear the mysterious function and beginning of the matter. interesting clues for realizing solutions draw on smooth problem-solving strategies and bring about old secrets and techniques that, prior to now, have infrequently been understood. no matter if you decipher them for his or her historic importance, classical knowledge, or simply for the sheer, maddening enjoyable of it, those pleasant puzzles offer a special, enjoyable, and enlightening advisor to the evolution of the human brain.

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Extra info for Ancient Puzzles: Classic Brainteasers and Other Timeless Mathematical Games of the Last Ten Centuries

Example text

Once again, we have both the hieratic script and the hieroglyphics, with modern numbers printed under the hieroglyphics. Look at the numbers in the left-hand column first; they are a little surprising. The numbers are 7, 49, 343, 2301, 16807, and 19607. The first five numbers are so nearly the first five powers of seven that we may assume Ahmes made a slight clerical error in his transcription and meant 2401 for the fourth number. r htp- t'wI :,,. n tt m; 9999&1 1^ 108, 94 3 1999 4211 99 1 4 0t,11 9 II o.

An arithmetical progression is a sequence in which every number differs by a constant from the one before it. " For example, 5, 9, 13, 17 is an arithmetical progression in which the "difference of share" is 4. Before reading Ahmes' solution, the reader should try it alone. It is easily solved by modern methods, but to get a better feel for the world of the ancient Egyptians, try solving it using only the method of false position. Ahmes' solution itself is typically cryptic, and gives only a hint: Do it thus: Make the difference of the shares amounts that the five men receive will be 23, 5 /2.

Now we have 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/7 = 41/42 Since the sum is of the form dl(d+ 1), we have a proper puzzle in which a merchant divides his 41 camels among his sons in the proportions 1/2, 1/3, and 1/7, If you play at this long enough you will sense that the number of fractions that work is actually limited. Fortunately, we find right away that a cannot equal anything other than 2. Assume the opposite, that a equals 3. Then the smallest value of (d+ 1) we can get is 12, which arises when a = 3, b = 4, c = 6.

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