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Browse Elementary History/Biography
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Selected answers to common questions:
    About Roman numerals.

Adding and Subtracting Roman Numerals [10/07/1997]
Do you have any suggestions for how to teach adding and subtracting of Roman numerals?

African-American Mathematicians [11/07/1996]
I am trying to compile a list of African American mathematicians.

Egyptian Method of Multiplication [6/26/1996]
Have you ever heard of an Egyptian Method of Multiplication?

Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth [10/7/1995]
How did Eratosthenes measure the circumference of the earth?

First Math Teacher, Pythagorean Theorem [1/6/1995]
Who was the first math teacher? How did Pythagoreas come up with a^2 + b^2 = c^2?

Geometry History [8/8/1996]
I'm looking information about the history of Geometry.

History of Numbers [09/04/1997]
My Algebra 2 teacher asked us to do a report on the history of numbers.

Lattice Multiplication [8/30/1996]
Can you please explain the lattice method of multiplication?

Roman Numerals [01/13/1997]
What does MCMLXXXVI mean?

Roman Numerals [06/05/1997]
Is there a general reference that deals with writing numbers in Roman numeral form?

Russian Peasant Method of Multiplication [10/07/1998]
I understand the 'Russian peasant' method of multiplication, but not why it works.

What is the Definition of Zero? Who Invented the Symbol? [1/9/1995]
A student from Monta Vista wants to know the origins of zero.

Why is a Circle 360 Degrees? [1/2/1995]
What is the origin/basis of the degree measurement? Why is a circle divided into 360 degrees rather than some other number?

Year 0 [10/19/1998]
How many years are there between 10 B.C. and 10 A.D.?

360 Degrees in a Circle [06/09/1998]
Why is a complete rotation around a circle equivalent to 360 degrees?

Abraham Lincoln and the Rule of Three [04/13/2003]
In the biography of Abraham Lincoln he states that he learned to 'read, write, and cipher to the rule of 3.' Can you please explain the phrase 'cipher to the rule of 3'?

Alabama legislature and pi [04/15/1998]
Did Alabama really vote that pi should have its biblical value of 3?

American Mathematicians [4/16/1996]
I am doing a project on a famous American mathematician, but I can't think of any!

American vs. European Billion [07/30/2000]
Why are there differences between the American and the European systems for naming large numbers?

Ancient Math Symbols [09/07/1997]
I need to know the numerals for 1,10 100, 1000 in Arab, Samarian, Greek, Roman, and Hindu.

Bachet's Theorem [10/08/1998]
My maths teacher said that a mathematician discovered that you can make any number by adding together a combination of no more than 4 square numbers.

Bar over a Whole Number? [06/05/2001]
What does a bar over a whole number indicate?

The Base of Roman Numerals [02/19/2004]
What base does the Roman Numeral system use?

Chinese Abacus [4/8/1996]
Where can I find information on using a Chinese abacus?

Commas and Decimal Points in Currency Notations [11/08/2007]
Why do Europeans use the comma in currency amounts instead of the decimal point as in the United States?

Contribution of Romans in Math History [12/18/2006]
How did the Romans contribute to math? What did they add to mathematics besides Roman numerals?

Counting in the Teens [09/10/1998]
Why do we count ten eleven twelve thirteen, instead of ten eleventeen twelveteen thirteen?

Counting Sheep the Traditional Way [10/13/2003]
Do you know anything interesting about mathematics in England, say from 400 to 1200 AD?

Decimals and Roman Numerals [10/22/1998]
Is there any notation for fractions in Roman numerals?

Decimal System [08/12/2003]
Why the decimal system? Why not 12 as the base number?

Division with Roman Numerals [03/02/2004]
I'm having real problems trying to divide using a non place system, like with Roman numerals. The concept of using letters rather than numbers is confusing me. Can you please give me an example of a division calculation?

Egyptian Division [06/23/1998]
How did the ancient Egyptians do division?

Egyptian Numerals [10/14/1998]
Can you give me some information or references on Egyptian numerals?

Etruscan Origins of Roman Numerals [12/07/2003]
In Roman numerals, what do the letters stand for? Are there words that they come from?

Feet per Mile [12/08/1998]
What is the history behind the fact that there are 5,280 feet in a mile?

Fraction Riddle [09/05/2003]
How can 1/2 of 9 be 4?

Galley or Scratch Method of Division [12/08/2002]
In the 15th century, what was the method for performing division?

Googol, Kasner, and Milton Sirotta [07/14/1999]
Who coined the phrase "googleplex," and when?

Greatest Mathematician [8/9/1996]
Who was the greatest mathematician ever?

History and Origination of the Metric System [08/13/2005]
Who invented the metric system?

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