How Old Was Diophantus?

Diophantus was a Greek mathematician and the author of Arithmetica.  He is famous for his Diophantine equations which eventually inspired Fermat to propose the Fermat’s Last Theorem. Little is known about him, and much of knowledge of his life is derived from a 5th century Greek anthology of games and puzzles.  One of this puzzles is known as his epitaph.

‘Here lies Diophantus,’ the wonder behold.
Through art algebraic, the stone tells how old:
‘God gave him his boyhood one-sixth of his life,
One twelfth more as youth while whiskers grew rife;
And then yet one-seventh ere marriage begun;
In five years there came a bouncing new son.
Alas, the dear child of master and sage
After attaining half the measure of his father’s life chill fate took him.
After consoling his fate by the science of numbers for four years, he ended his life.’

This means that Diophantus lived 1/6th of his life as youth, and then grew a beard after 1/12th of his life.  He married after 1/7th more of his life, and had a son five years later. His son lived as long as him, and Diophantus died four years after his son’s death.

Can you determine the age of Diophantus when he died?

The Solution to the Matchstick and Square Puzzle

It’s been three months since I posted the Matchstick and Square puzzle. According to one of the comments, it’s already causing household arguments., so I think it’s high time that I post my solution. There is no key to the puzzle, I only found it on a Facebook Page.

matchstick puzzle solution

Please check if my solution below is correct. 🙂


There are nine  1 \times 1 squares.

There are five 2 \times 2 squares.

There is one 3 \times 3 square.

There is one 4 \times 4 square.

Therefore, there 16 squares.

iPad App For Students: MatchPuzzle

MatchPuzzle is an iPad app that can be used by students to practice the four fundamental operations. The rule of the game is very simple: just remove 1 matchstick from the numbers or from the sighs to make the equation true.

The MatchPuzzle iPad App

(c) MatchPuzzle

The difficulty of the game increases as you play. It starts with simple equations with one term on both sides, but can increase equations with two terms on both sides or 3 terms on one side and one term on the other side. The numbers also become larger as the game progresses.

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