Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Math Puzzles’ Oldest Ancestors Took Form on Egyptian Papyrus

Originally published: December 6, 2010 | the New York Times | by Pam Belluck | In ancient Egypt, math had a practical purpose. I doubt any scribe worth his hekat would question the reason he was solving any of these 85 problems, as modern students in the lower grades tend to do. I would say that it's not so surprising that most of the solutions to the problems in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus are accurate. Ahmes' estimation of the value for Pi is almost spot-on. Therefore, it's no surprise that this culture built pyramids, the construction of which we moderns still can't fathom pursuing with tools that were known to have been used back them. For lack of a better defense: They were very clever.

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