Date: 05/14/97 at 22:09:17 From: Bonnie L Struble Subject: Diophantus' Life Span Problem Diophantus' youth lasted 1/6 of his life. He grew a beard after 1/12 more of his life. After 1/7 more of his life, Diophantus married. Five years later he had a son. The son lived exactly 1/2 as long as his father, and Diophantus died just four years after his son's death. How many years did Diophantus live? I need to find an algebraic equation that will find the number of years Diophantus lived. Can you help me? I have been stuck on this forever and the ways that I have been trying to solve it make absolutely no sense to me or my teacher. Please help!
Date: 05/15/97 at 11:02:44 From: Doctor Mitteldorf Subject: Re: Diophantus' Life Span Problem Dear Bonnie, Diophantus' son was born after 1/6 + 1/12 + 1/7 of his life plus 5 years. The son died 4 years before Diophantus, and lived half as long. Let's write everything in terms of the number of years Diophantus lived, and call that x. Then the son was born in year: (1/6 + 1/12 + 1/7 ) x + 5 The son died in year x-4. Subtract the year of birth from the year of death, and you get the son's lifespan, which was half his father's: (x-4) - [ (1/6 + 1/12 + 1/7 ) x + 5 ] = x/2 Can you solve this equation? -Doctor Mitteldorf, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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