Even and Odd NumbersDate: 6/13/96 at 10:30:57 From: d'Hautree Modern Languages Subject: Even and odd numbers Dear Dr. Math, Why do we have odd and even numbers? Sharyn Date: 6/18/96 at 13:49:52 From: Doctor Beth Subject: Re: Even and odd numbers I could answer you "we just do," but that wouldn't be very helpful! I don't know if anyone knows when the ideas of even and odd numbers started, but even the ancient Greeks thought about them a couple of thousand years ago. Numbers that can be evenly divided by two are even, and those that can't are odd. Since every number can either be divided by two or not, every number is either even or odd. The word "even" may come from the fact that it can be divided into two level or uniform (or "even") amounts. For example, if you take a stack of 8 pennies, you can split them up into two level (or "even") stacks of four. If you take 7 pennies, you can't divide them into two level stacks, and there's an "odd" one left over if you try, so you have an odd number. (I got the info on why the words are used from the book "The Words of Mathematics" by Steven Schwartzman.) -Doctor Beth, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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