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Problems from Another Time

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

The square root of half the number of bees in a swarm has flown out upon a jessamine bush; 8/9 of the swarm has remained behind.
On a day in spring a boy has gathered cherry blossoms under a cherry tree. Nearby a poet is reading some of his poems aloud. As he reads, the boy counts out the cherry blossoms, one blossom for each word of a poem.
Find two number with sum 20 and when squared their sum is 208.
A man hired a horse in London at 3 pence a mile. He rode 94 miles due West to Bristol then due north to Chester, whence he returned toward London for 66 miles, which put him in Coventry.
A tree is 20 feet tall and has a circumference of 3 feet. There is a vine that winds seven equally spaced times around the tree and reaches the top. What is the length of the vine?
If I were to give 7 pennies to each beggar at my door, I would have 24 pennies left in my purse. How many beggars are there and how much money do I have?
There is a four sided field.
If a ladder, placed 8 ft. from the base of a building 40 ft. high, just reached the top, how far must it be placed from the base of the building that it may reach a point 10 ft. from the top?
Assume that the human population after the flood was 6 and that 200 years later the population was 1,000,000. Find the annual growth of the population.
How a translation of Peano's counterexample to the 'theorem' that a zero Wronskian implies linear dependence can help your differential equations students