You are here

Problems from Another Time

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

A two door gate of unknown width is opened so that a 2 inch gap exists between the two doors.
The incircle O(r) of triangle ABC touches AB at D, BC at E and AC at F. Find r in terms of AD, BE and CF.

A certain man says that he can weigh any amount from 1 to 40 pounds using only 4 weights. What size must they be?
The authors recount the 'great tale' of Napier's and Burgi's parallel development of logarithms and urge you to use it in class.
In Archimedes' Book of Lemmas (ca 250), he introduces a figure that, due to its shape, has historically been known as "the shoemaker's knife" or arbelos.
A fellow said that when he counted his nuts by twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes, there was still one left over; but when he counted them by sevens they came out even. How many did he have?
A general formed his men into a square, that is, an equal number in rank and file, and he found that he had an excess of 59 men.
How a translation of Peano's counterexample to the 'theorem' that a zero Wronskian implies linear dependence can help your differential equations students
In a certain lake, swarming with red geese, the tip of a lotus bud was seen to extend a span [9 inches] above the surface of the water.
Having been given the lengths, a and b, of two straight lines drawn from the acute angles of a right triangle to the middle of the opposite sides, determine the lengths of those sides.