Diophantine Riddle

Such was his love of problem-solving that the Greek mathematician Diophantus left an epitaph in the form of a riddle:

God granted him to be a boy for one sixth of his life, and adding a twelfth part to this, He clothed his cheeks with down; He lit him the light of wedlock after a seventh part, and five years after his marriage He granted him a son. Alas! late-born wretched child; after attaining the measure of half his father's full life, chill Fate took him. After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years he ended his life.

[The answer? Diophantus died at the age of 84. Questions requiring whole number solutions are still referred to as Diophantine problems.]

0/5 0 votes

Share It

Share Report

Related Anecdotes