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Problems from Another Time

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

Two men rent a pasture for 100 liras on the understanding that two cows are to be counted as being equivalent to three sheep. The first puts in 60 cows and 85 sheep; the second 80 cows and 100 sheep. How much should each pay?
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.
On a certain ground stands two poles 12 feet apart, the lesser pole is 35 ft. in height and the greater 40 ft. It is sought, if the greater pole will lean on the lesser, then in what part will it touch?
The edge of a cloud is at an altitude of 20 degrees and the sun above it at 35 degrees. The shadow cast by the edge of the cloud fall on a object 2300 yards away, how high is the cloud?
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.
A lady has two silver cups, and only one cover for both. The first cup weighs 16 oz, and when it is covered it weighs 3 times as much as the second cup; but when the second cup is covered, it weighs 4 times as much as the first.
Make of 10 three parts such that one part multiplied by 3 makes as much as the other multiplied by 4 and as the other multiplied by 5.
The authors recount the 'great tale' of Napier's and Burgi's parallel development of logarithms and urge you to use it in class.

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