Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | December 7, 2010

Math Puzzles’ Oldest Ancestors Took Form on Egyptian Papyrus

A nice paper from NYT.

Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. British Museum

[with thanks to muriel]

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  1. The simpleness of these ancient problems always stuns me. It shows hor far humans have come mathematically in the time since. It also shows just how hard mathematics is — eg, until about 1840, good mathematicians such as Augustus De Morgan were still disagreeing on whether negative numbers could be solutions to equations. The subject is hard, and so no wonder young students struggle with it.


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