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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 railway train strikes a snowdrift which creates a constant resistance. How long does it take the snow to stop the train?
Divide 100 loaves of bread among 10 men including a boatman, a foreman, and a doorkeeper, who receives double portions. What is the share of each?
One military horse cannot pull a load of 40 dan; neither can 2 ordinary horses, nor can three inferior horses.
A set of n disjoint, congruent circles packs the surface of a sphere S so that each region of the surface exterior to the circles is bounded by arcs of three of the circles.
Three men have a pile of money, their shares being 1/2, 1/3 and 1/6. Each man takes some money from the pile until nothing is left.
An oracle ordered a prince to build a sacred building, whose space would be 400 cubits, the length being 6 cubits more than the width, and the width 3 cubits more than the height. Find the dimensions of the building.
A person has a circular yard that is 150 ft. in diameter, and wishes a walk of equal width made round it within the fence...
Now a good horse and an inferior horse set out from Chang'an to Qi. Qi is 3000 li from Chang'an.
The authors recount the 'great tale' of Napier's and Burgi's parallel development of logarithms and urge you to use it in class.
The steamer, Katie, leaves the wharf at New Orleans and runs an average speed of 15 mph. When Katie had gone 25 miles, the steamer R.E. Lee leaves the wharf and runs the average speed of 18 mph. How far will the Lee go before she overtakes the Katie?

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