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Problems from Another Time

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

An old Chinese general led his army to a river with a steep bank. Standing atop the bank, he held a stick 6 feet long perpendicular to himself.
Make a crown of gold copper, tin, and iron weighing 60 minae: gold and copper shall be 2/3 of it; gold and tin, 3/4 of it; and gold and iron, 3/5 of it. Find the required weights of gold, copper, tin, and iron.
Discussion of 15th century French manuscript, with translation of its problems, including one with negative solutions
Curve sketching, tangent lines, and optimization, explored via interactive applets
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.
A vessel is anchored in 3 fathoms of water and the cable passes over a sheave in the bowspirt which is 6 ft above the water.
Wanting to know the breadth of a river, I measured a base of 500 yards in a straight line close by one side of it.
In a right triangle, let the perpendicular be 5 and the sum of the base and hypotenuse 25. Find the lengths of the base and hypotenuse
A cliff with a tower on its edge is observed from a boat at sea; find the height of the cliff and the tower.

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