Mid-18th century math challenges found in Gentleman’s Magazines…

July 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Two weeks ago, as we were exploring the varied content to be found in 18th and 19th century Gentleman’s Magazines, we took time to focus on the monthly mathematical challenges the publisher would serve up to the subscribers. At the time we provided our readers with a set of challenges from an issue dated May, 1768. Admitting they were a bit difficult, the following week, along with the available solutions which appeared in the August issue, we provided yet another set of mathematical exercises. The results to this 2nd set are shown below. Whether it is content covering the (now) historical events of the day, book reviews, obituaries, poetry, maps, plates (diagrams), and yes, even mathematical challenges, 18th and 19th century Gentleman’s Magazines never fail to deliver on a truly contemporary experience. As we’ve often said (slightly revised): “History (and poetry, and book reviews, and discoveries, and ____) are never more fascinating than when read from the day they were first reported.”

Solutions to the May, 1768 Gentleman’s Magazine’s math exercises…

July 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week we posted a set of math exercises which were provided in the May, 1768 issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine. Today we post the solutions (see below). Understanding that the set of problems were a bit cryptic to the 21st century mind, the bottom of the solutions below provides yet another set of problems to explore – which appear a bit more straight-forward. We’ll post the solutions to these next Thursday. Before you throw in the towel, don’t forget the famous words of W.E. Hickson: “If at first you don’t succeed…”

Are you smarter than a 18th century 5th grader? Math exercises within Gentleman’s Magazines…

July 13, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

As we continue to explore the diversity of content found on the pages of 18th and 19th century Gentleman’s Magazines, our attention was drawn to the abundance of Mathematical challenges found within many issues – particularly those from the 1700’s. Rather than opining on the difficulty level of the quests as opposed to what might be expected of the average reader of a common (blog) post or publication of the 21st century, especially since we have no idea as to the intended target audience. Instead, let’s just enjoy the challenge as if we were living just prior to the American War for Independence.

The challenge: On a somewhat regular basis the publisher would provide a set of Mathematical exercises and invite their subscribers to submit solutions. These responses would then be printed (along with the names of those who submitted them) within a future magazine – typically 1-3 months later. The set shown below is from an issue dated May, 1768. Go ahead and give the problems a try. As an act of 21st century kindness, next Thursday I’ll post the solutions which were submitted in 1768. Are you bold? Go ahead and reply with your solutions prior to next Thursday and allow the collectible world to observe your mathematical genius – or at least your ability to rival the math-prowess of a 17th century 5th grader – or mathematics professor of the period. Enjoy.