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# What "puzzle" appeared on the "Father of Algebra's" tombstone?

Question #49835. Asked by peasypod. (Jul 29 04 5:47 AM)

MaggieG 5

http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Div/Winchester/jhhs/math/facts/dioph.html

"This tomb hold Diophantus Ah, what a marvel!
And the tomb tells scientifically the measure of his life.
God vouchsafed that he should be a boy for the sixth part of his life;
when a twelfth was added, his cheeks acquired a beard;
He kindled for him the light of marriage after a seventh,
and in the fifth year after his marriage He granted him a son.
Alas! late-begotten and miserable child,
when he had reached the measure of half his father's life,
the chill grave took him.
After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years,
he reached the end of his life."

 Jul 29 04, 6:28 AM
peasypod

Yay Maggie! And the answer to this puzzle is?

 Jul 29 04, 6:59 AM
MaggieG 5

Oh dear! Was I supposed to work it out? hang on a mo...

84
(I cheated)

 Jul 29 04, 7:34 AM
peasypod

The puzzle told us the length of Diophantus' life (84 years).

Technically speaking:
Let the length of his life be called x.

1/6 x + 1/12 x + 1/7 x + 5 + 1/2 x + 4 = x

(a tad difficult to display fractions here!!)

 Jul 29 04, 8:36 PM

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