Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Corn Can Be Fractionalized

Neues Museum Berlin 4946Image by kairoinfo4u via Flickr
Ahmes's Papyrus
About 1650 B. C., Egyptian scribe Ahmes, made a transcript of even more ancient mathematical scriptures dating to the reign of the Pharaoh Amenemhat III. In 1858 Scottish antiquarian, Henry Rhind came into possession of Ahmes's papyrus. The papyrus is a scroll 33 cm wide and about 5.25 m long filled with funny math riddles. One of the problems is as follows:

100 measures of corn must be divided among 5 workers, so that the second worker gets as many measures more than the first worker, as the third gets more than the second, as the fourth gets more than the third, and as the fifth gets more than the fourth. The first two workers shall get seven times less measures of corn than the three others.

How many measures of corn shall each worker get? (You can have fractional measures of corn.)

1 comment:

  1. Simple question on 2 variables and 2 equations.
    Let "a" be first' share, and "d" be difference.

    1) a+a+d+a+3d+a+3d+a+4d = 100
    2) 7(a+a+d) = 2d+a+3d+a+4d

    a=5/3 d=55/6

    shares are 5/3, 65/6, 20, 175/6 and 115/3


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