Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Topic: Why study Egyptian fraction math?
Replies: 20   Last Post: Nov 20, 2012 9:25 PM

 Search Thread: Advanced Search

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Milo Gardner Posts: 1,105 Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Why study Egyptian fraction math?
Posted: Nov 20, 2012 3:13 PM
 Plain Text Reply

Responding to the interesting square root question, Egyptian fraction arithmetic was based on positive rational numbers scaled to concise unit fraction series. Irrational and higher order numbers like pi were approximated bu scribes. Pi. for example, was approximated two ways, 256/81 and 22/7, each for special purposes.

Irrational numbers like the square root of 2 would have been approximated by the Babylonian method (that I learned as a high school freshman algebras class).

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods_of_computing_square_roots#Babylonian_method

does a poor job in intellectualizing the simple aspects of the method as I learned. In addition, I suspect Wikipedia;s data also offers unclear historical aspects of the method that Egyptian scribes used to create approximate unit fraction series.

When second degree algebra equations were solved by a Berlin Papyrus

http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/BerlinPapyrusAndSecondDegreeEquations.html

an inverse proportion was used.

Work with the two equations, and see what was intended by the scribe.

Date Subject Author
9/25/12 Milo Gardner
10/4/12 Milo Gardner
10/4/12 Milo Gardner
10/10/12 Milo Gardner
10/11/12 Milo Gardner
10/17/12 Milo Gardner
10/18/12 Milo Gardner
11/4/12 Milo Gardner
11/4/12 Milo Gardner
11/5/12 Milo Gardner
11/5/12 Milo Gardner
11/9/12 Milo Gardner
11/9/12 Milo Gardner
11/9/12 Milo Gardner
11/11/12 Milo Gardner
11/11/12 Milo Gardner
11/13/12 fosad
11/15/12 Milo Gardner
11/18/12 Peter Duveen
11/20/12 Milo Gardner
11/20/12 Milo Gardner

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2016. All Rights Reserved.