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Adventures in Egyptian Math for High school kids

# Adventures in Egyptian Math for High school kids

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A brief article on Egyptian mathematics--how they estimated pi, designed pyramids based on pi, algebraic problems,word problems,multiplication using 2/n tables, seked and slope angles
A brief article on Egyptian mathematics--how they estimated pi, designed pyramids based on pi, algebraic problems,word problems,multiplication using 2/n tables, seked and slope angles

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07/11/2012

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Adventures in Egyptian MathematicsDr N K Srinivasan
Introduction
This exploration is mainly to find how theydeveloped mathematics--- to find areas andvolumes of solid objects, how theyapproximated for pi and how they worked outslopes of pyramids and how they did manycalculations using multiplications.They did not use angles as such but onlyslopes or gradients.The way they handled fractions is alsoingenious based on the simple fraction 2/nwhere n is an odd number , 3,5, 7 upto 101.They had a nice table for these in terms offractions only!

The Egyptians were very practical people:they developed and used math foragriculture, to measure lands and to storegrains. ---and of course, to build pyramidsfor their pharoahs.
Historical Introduction
This article is based on the material foundin the famous "Rhind Papyrus".Alexander Henry Rhind , a scottish man,bought a piece of papyrus or Egyptianmanuscript [a scroll of 18feet and width 13in] in the year 1858 in Luxor, Egypt.Later this document was bequeathed to theBritish Museum from his estates.The scribe who wrote this papyrus is oneAhmes, around 1650 BC. He stated that he

derived the material available about 200years earlier. So the origin of thismathematics is around 1850 BC. This periodcorresponds to Middle Kingdom of Egypt.This book, RP of math was first publishedin Germany in 1873. There were hot debateson this between German mathematicians andBritish historians.!There is a similar Egyptian papyrus inMoscow and we shall refer only to oneproblem from that manuscript in thisarticle.
What we learn from Rhind Payrus?
This manuscript contains 64 problems ofarithmetic and geometric ones---much ofpractical value to Egyptians at that time.