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Take one tablet a day to become a better mathematician


tabletThis is an ancient clay tablet (aka school book) discovered in Babylonia in the second millennium B.C. Рsome 1000 years before Pythagoras. You will notice that is shows, within the square, an isosceles triangle with a diagonal hypotenuse.

The Babylonians¬†understood the relationship between the sides of a right-angled triangle, and, in solving for the hypotenuse, came up with an approximation of¬†accurate to five decimal places. Incredible mathematicians! So, why did Pythagoras get all the textbook praise for his theorem? Simply because he made it a theorem or proof, which is fundamental to so much of our trigonometry today. (Note: the Babylonians also used a space to represent zero, but it was later mathematicians who came up with the concept of “0” itself as a symbol).

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NCEA Level 2 Algebra Problem. Using the information given, the shaded area = 9, that is:
y(y-8) = 9 –> y.y – 8y – 9 =0
–> (y-9)(y+1) = 0, therefore y = 9 (can’t have a distance of – 1 for the other solution for y)
Using the top and bottom of the rectangle,
x = (y-8)(y+2) = (9-8)(9+2) = 11
but, the left side = (x-4) = 11-4 = 7, but rhs = y+? = 9+?, which is greater than the value of the opp. side??
[I think that the left had side was a mistake and should have read (x+4)?]

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