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Curious Arithmetical Problem.

An eminent Indian mathematician named Seffa is said to have invented the game of chess for the amusement of his royal master. The Prince, in the usual style of Eastern ostentation, desired him to ask some reward adequate to his ingenuity, and worthy the munificence of a king. Seffa required only a quantity of wheat, equal to the number of grains arising from the successive doubling of a single grain for the first square of the chess board, two for the second and so on, doubling each product to the sixtyfourth square, and adding all the products together. When the quantity of wheat thus arising was completed, it was found to exceed all that Asia or even the whole earth could produce in one year. This question may by solved by multiplication and addition, but more expeditiously by geometrical progression by this method: It appears that the number of grains of wheat amounts to 18,446,744,073,709,551.615. Allowing 9,216 grains to an English pint, the quantity in bushels is easily calculated. For 9,216 multiplied by 8 gives 73,728 grains in a gallon, and that by 8 gives 539,824 grains in a bushel. Dividing the original number by this last, we have 31,274,997,412,295 for the number of bushels. Now if 30 bushels bo the average product of an acre in a year, it requires 1,042,499,913,743 acres to produce as many bushels, or about eight times the surface of tht globe.

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Bibliographic details

Curious Arithmetical Problem., Evening Star, Issue 7966, 23 July 1889

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Curious Arithmetical Problem. Evening Star, Issue 7966, 23 July 1889