All entries for Monday 11 May 2009

May 11, 2009

Maths Challenge #4 – How Old Was Diophantus?

Diophantus’ childhood lasted one sixth of his life. His beard grew after one-twelfth more. He married after one-seventh more. His son was born five years later. The son lived to half his father’s age. Diophantus died four years after his son. How old was Diophantus when he died?

Who was Diophantus?

"Diophantus was probably Greek and he lived in ancient Alexandria. Some time around AD 250 he wrote a book about solving algebraic equations - with a slight twist: the solutions were required to be fractions, or better still, whole numbers. Such equations are called Diophantine equations to this day."

Find out more in Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by Ian Stewart

About Warwick Challenges

Warwick Challenges are mini academic challenges from University of Warwick professors, set via the micro-blogging service Twitter (and also via this blog).
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