The mathematics of ancient Egypt was fundamentally different from our math today. Contrary to what people might think, it wasn't a primitive forerunner of modern mathematics. In fact, it can't be understood using our current computational methods. Count Like an Egyptian provides a fun, hands-on introduction to the intuitive and often-surprising art of ancient Egyptian math. David Reimer guides you step-by-step through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and more. He even shows you how fractions and decimals may have been calculated--they technically didn't exist in the land of the pharaohs. You'll be counting like an Egyptian in no time, and along the way you'll learn firsthand how mathematics is an expression of the culture that uses it, and why there's more to math than rote memorization and bewildering abstraction.
Reimer takes you on a lively and entertaining tour of the ancient Egyptian world, providing rich historical details and amusing anecdotes as he presents a host of mathematical problems drawn from different eras of the Egyptian past. Each of these problems is like a tantalizing puzzle, often with a beautiful and elegant solution. As you solve them, you'll be immersed in many facets of Egyptian life, from hieroglyphs and pyramid building to agriculture, religion, and even bread baking and beer brewing.
Fully illustrated in color throughout, Count Like an Egyptian also teaches you some Babylonian computation--the precursor to our modern system--and compares ancient Egyptian mathematics to today's math, letting you decide for yourself which is better.
David Reimer is associate professor of mathematics at The College of New Jersey.
"Reimer gives us a detailed introduction to the mathematics of the ancient Egyptians--from their arithmetic operations to their truncated pyramids--in a beautifully designed volume that is so much easier to read than a papyrus scroll."--William Dunham, author of The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue
"This book is by far the best presentation of Egyptian math I have read. In an age of overpopularized and sensationalized science reporting, Reimer's crisp prose and concise exposition earned my unqualified admiration. Count Like an Egyptian is destined to become a classic."--Eli Maor, author of e: The Story of a Number
"Count Like an Egyptian is well written and entertaining. This book fills a void in popular science writing on Egyptian mathematics."--Annette Imhausen, section author of The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam: A Sourcebook
Table of Contents:
Computation Tables xi
1 Numbers 1
2 Fractions 13
3 Operations 22
4 Simplification 55
5 Techniques and Strategies 80
6 Miscellany 121
7 Base-Based Mathematics 144
8 Judgment Day 182
Practice Solutions 209