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Problems from Another Time

Individual problems from throughout mathematics history, as well as articles that include problem sets for students.

A set of four congruent circles whose centers form a square is inscribed in a right triangle ABC where C is the right angle and serves as one corner of the square. Find their radius in terms of the sides; a,b,c, of the triangle.
Two ants are 100 paces apart, crawling back and forth along the same path. The first goes 1/3 pace forward a day and returns 1/4 pace; the other goes forward 1/5 pace and returns 1/6 pace. How many days before the first ant overtakes the second?
A certain man says that he can weigh any amount from 1 to 40 pounds using only 4 weights. What size must they be?
A copper water tank in the form of a rectangular parallelopiped is to made. If its length is to be a times its breadth, how high should it be that for a given capacity it should cost as little as possible?
A ladder is placed perpendicular to the plane of the horizon, and in coincidence with the plane of an upright wall.
A man plants 4 kernels of corn, which at harvest produce 32 kernels: these he plants the second year; now supposing the annual increase to continue 8 fold, what would be the produce of the 15th year, allowing 1000 kernels to a pint?
If an arc of 45 degrees on one circumference is equal to an arc of 60 degrees on another circle, what is the ratio of the areas of the circle?
Two wine merchants enter Paris, one of them with 64 casks of wine, the other with 20.
The three sides of a triangular piece of land, taken in order, measure 15, 10, and 13 chains respectively.
Knowing the base, b, and the altitude, a, of a triangle. Find the expression for a side of the inscribed square.

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