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Diophantus


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16 replies to this topic

#1 rookie1ja

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:53 PM

Diophantus - Back to the Cool Math Games
We know little about this Greek mathematician from Alexandria, called the father of algebra, except that he lived around 3rd century A.D. Thanks to an admirer of his, who described his life by means of an algebraic riddle, we know at least something about his life.
Diophantus's youth lasted 1/6 of his life. He had his first beard in the next 1/12 of his life. At the end of the following 1/7 of his life Diophantus got married. Five years from then his son was born. His son lived exactly 1/2 of Diophantus's life. Diophantus died 4 years after the death of his son.
How long did Diophantus live?

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#2 mrbojangles

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 10:07 PM

i'm pleased to say that i figured this one out all by myself
here's the long way around it (or in my eyes, an organized way to see what's going on).

1. Y = (1/6)L
2. B = Y + (1/12)L
3. M = B + (1/7)L
4. S = M + 5
5. P = S + (1/2)L
6. L = P + 4

Diophantus' age at the point of...
L = he died
Y = the end of his youth
B = the end of his beard
M = the day he got married
S = the day his son was born
P = the day his son died

6 equations, 6 unknowns, cake!
Substitute P from 5 into 6 and solve for S
Substitute S from 6 into 4 and solve for M
Substitute M from 4 into 3 and solve for B
Substitute B from 3 into 2 and solve for Y
Substitute Y from 3 into 2 and solve for L
...and presto!

(don't be afraid if, as you're working it out, you get some weird fractions)
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#3 colorclown26

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 01:02 AM

I basically found all the multiples of 12 up to the resonable dying age. Then I took all of those numbers and tried to find the answer. It is much easier this way.
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#4 unmilquetoast

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 04:49 AM

I think the easiest way to approach it is to realize that, unless they were rounding, two numbers were needing to diving into the age evenly: 7 and 12. Thus, multiply 7 and 12 to get the age at which he died. The rest works out nicely from there.
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#5 lukegaru

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 08:38 PM

1/6+1/12=1/7+5+1/2x+4=x 1/6=14,1/12=7,1/7=12,14+7+12+5+4=x-1/2x,14+7+12+5+4+=1/2x,42=1/2x,x=84
he lived to 84
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#6 Aldoweb

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 05:43 PM

Knowing that ancient Greeks did not use floating point operations, (yes they use portioning like 1/2 etc.) we can figure out that all the parts of life are integers or better natural numbers.
So from this i make:
1/2,
1/6,
1/7,
1/12
Finding the Lowest Common Multiple:
So 7*12 = 84.
Diophatius lived 84 years.
his life was:
Youth 14 years,
Beard 14 + 7 = 21
He got married 21 + 12 = 33 Years
His son was born on 33+5=38 years old
his son died when he was 38+42=80 years old
He died 84 years old.

I believe that solving this using X is not a puzzle but an equation.
This is the puzzle solution ;-)
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#7 McSquid

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 12:30 AM

i agree with all of this except for the people that think the LCD gives up his age. just because you can split his life into 84ths does not mean whatsoever that he is 84. it just happens to work out that way. the easiest way to set it up is this way in my opinion:
x = 1/2x + 1/6x + +1/7x + 1/12x +9
x = 14/84x
7/84x
12/84x
42/84x
------
x = 75/84x + 9
-75/84x -75/84x

9/84x = 9
X84 X84
9x = 756
/9 /9

x= 84
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#8 lytefoot

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:52 AM

i agree with all of this except for the people that think the LCD gives up his age. just because you can split his life into 84ths does not mean whatsoever that he is 84. it just happens to work out that way.



That's true, except that we need to keep in mind that we're talking about the Greeks. So we certainly wouldn't expect a solution relatively prime to 84. Further, we're talking about a puzzle that the Greeks meant one another to be able to solve readiy; so we're probably looking for a factor or multiple of 84. That makes the possible solutions 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12, 14, 21, 28, 42, 84, and (at the outside of possibility) 168. Of these, only 42 and 84 are at all reasonable, and we need only check them.

Of course we can solve it easily using algebra... but using any tools not available to the Greeks is cheating.
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#9 lsorrells

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 10:11 PM

The Greeks were using Algerbra at least by 600BC and the invention of Algerbra predates that by over 1000 years. Needless to say Greeks could have used algerbra to solve the problem.
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#10 Kend0g187

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 01:08 AM

Some of the periods of his life are given in fractions of his total life and some are given in actual years. 75/84 of his life is accounted for in the fractions, and the rest of his life (the remaining 9/84) is given in years (9).

(9/84)x = 9
x = 84

Edited by Kend0g187, 29 January 2008 - 01:09 AM.

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