Volume 5, Issue 2, March 2017, Page: 17-29
Egyptian 2/D Table (D Prime Number): An Entirely New Analysis Consistent with the Idea of a Progressive Teamwork
Lionel Bréhamet, Independent Scholar, Bordeaux, France
Received: Oct. 8, 2016;       Accepted: Feb. 17, 2017;       Published: Apr. 1, 2017
DOI: 10.11648/j.history.20170502.11      View  2849      Downloads  57
Abstract
For h=3 or 4, Egyptian decompositions into h unit fractions, like 2/D = 1 /D1 +... +1 /Dh, were given by using (h-1) divisors (di) of D1. This ancient modus operandi, well recognized today, provides Di=DD1/di for i greater than 1. Decompositions selected (depending on di) have generally been studied by modern researchers through the intrinsic features of di itself. An unconventional method is presented here without considering the di properties but just the differences dh-1- dh. In contrast to widespread ideas about the last denominator like ‘Dh smaller than 1000’, it is more appropriate to adopt a global boundary of the form ‘Dh smaller or equal to 10D’, where 10 comes from the Egyptian decimal system. Singular case 2/53 (with 15 instead of 10) is explained. The number of preliminary alternatives before the final decisions is found to be so low (71) for h=3 or 4 that a detailed overview was possible in the past. A simple additive method of trials, independent of any context, can be carried out, namely 2n+1= d2 +... + dh. Clearly the decisions fit with a minimal value of the differences dh-1- dh, independently of any di values.
Keywords
Rhind Papyrus, 2/n Table, Egyptian Fractions
To cite this article
Lionel Bréhamet, Egyptian 2/D Table (D Prime Number): An Entirely New Analysis Consistent with the Idea of a Progressive Teamwork, History Research. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2017, pp. 17-29. doi: 10.11648/j.history.20170502.11
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Reference
[1]
T. E. PEET: The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, British Museum 10057 and 10058, London: The University Press of Liverpool limited and Hodder - Stoughton limited (1923).
[2]
A. B. CHACE; l. BULL; H. P. MANNING; and R. C. ARCHIBALD: The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, Mathematical Association of America, Vol.1 (1927), Vol. 2 (1929), Oberlin, Ohio.
[3]
G. ROBINS and C. SHUTE: The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus: An Ancient Egyptian Text, London: British Museum Publications Limited, (1987). [A recent overview].
[4]
R. J. GILLINGS: Mathematics in the Time of Pharaohs, MIT Press (1972), reprinted by Dover Publications (1982).
[5]
M. BRUCKHEIMER and Y. SALOMON: Some comments on R. J Gillings’s analysis of the 2/n table in the Rhind Papyrus, Historia Mathematica, Vol. 4, pp. 445-452 (1977).
[6]
E. R. ACHARYA: "Mathematics Hundred Years Before and Now", History Research, Vol. 3, No 3, pp. 41-47, (2015).
[7]
K. R. W. ZAHRT: Thoughts on Ancient Egyptian Mathematics Vol. 3, pp. 90-93 (2000), [available as pdf on the Denver site https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/iusburj/.../19842]
[8]
G. LEFEBVRE: In: Grammaire de L’Egyptien classique, Le Caire, Imprimerie de l’IFAO, 1954.
[9]
A. IMHAUSEN and J. RITTER: Mathematical fragments [see fragment UC32159]. (2004). In: The UCL Lahun Papyri, Vol. 2, pp. 71-96. Archeopress, Oxford, Eds M. COLLIER, S. QUIRKE.
[10]
A. ABDULAZIZ: On the Egyptian method of decomposing 2/n into unit fractions, Historia Mathematica, Vol. 35, pp. 1-18 (2008).
[11]
M. GARDNER: Egyptian fractions: Unit Fractions, Hekats and Wages - an Update (2013), available on the site of academia. edu. [Herein can be found an historic of various researches about the subject].
[12]
L. BREHAMET: Remarks on the Egyptian 2/D table in favor of a global approach (D composite number), arXiv:1404.0341 [math. HO] (2014).
[13]
L. FIBONACCI: Liber abaci (1202).
[14]
E. M. BRUINS: The part in ancient Egyptian mathematics, Centaurus, Vol. 19, pp. 241-251 (1975).
Browse journals by subject