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Slicing Pizzas, Racing Turtles, and Further Adventures in Applied Mathematics by Robert B. Banks

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26

Lengths, Areas, and Volumes of All Kinds of Shapes

An intriguing book you might want to examine sometime is Engineering in History, by Kirby et al. (1990). One thing becomes quite apparent as you read this informative text: for thousands of years, humans have been making calculations about things they build.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt is an excellent example. Constructed over 4,500 years ago, this structure had a height H of 480 feet and an average side length L of 750 feet. So its volume V = HL2/3 was approximately 90 million cubic feet. This required 2.1 million blocks of limestone, each block measuring 3.5 feet on a side and weighing over 6,000 pounds.

Of course, the ancient Egyptians did not use our units of pounds and feet; ...

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