Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

Charles Seife
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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Approximately when was Giordano Bruno born?
(a) 1366.
(b) 1548.
(c) 1623.
(d) 1459.

2. In September of 1997, a crewmember entered a zero into the database field on the computers of the USS Yorktown, leading to what type of error?
(a) An addition by zero error.
(b) A divide by zero error.
(c) A subtraction by zero error.
(d) A multiply by zero error.

3. What branch of mathematics are the ancient Egyptians credited with creating in order to successfully build objects to block the flooding of the Nile River each year?
(a) Geometry.
(b) Projective physics.
(c) Quantum mechanics.
(d) Algebra.

4. When the Indians adopted a Babylonian style number system, its base was what, according to the author in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured”?
(a) 5.
(b) 20.
(c) 10.
(d) 60.

5. Negative numbers first appeared where historically, according to the author in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured”?
(a) India and China.
(b) Egypt and Babylonia.
(c) In Mayan and Native American cultures.
(d) Europe and the Americas.

6. The USS Yorktown was located off the coast of what location when the computer systems malfunctioned in September of 1997?
(a) New York, New York.
(b) Cape Charles, Virginia.
(c) Del Norte, California.
(d) Havana, Cuba.

7. The ancient Babylonians had a number system based on what increment?
(a) 5.
(b) 20.
(c) 10.
(d) 60.

8. Ptolemy wrote what mathematical and astronomical treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths?
(a) The Epicurean.
(b) The Almagest.
(c) The Golden Ratio.
(d) Physics.

9. Pythagoreanism developed into two separate schools of thought. What group was called “the learners” in Greek?
(a) The Hippasusikoi.
(b) The omnimatioi.
(c) The mathēmatikoi.
(d) The akousmatikoi.

10. Where did Copernicus live?
(a) France.
(b) Egypt.
(c) Rome.
(d) Prussia.

11. What refers to a system of tribunals developed by the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church during the second half of the 16th Century?
(a) The Medieval Inquisition.
(b) The Roman Inquisition.
(c) The Spanish Inquisition.
(d) The Catalina Inquisition.

12. What was the Pythagorean cult’s most sacred symbol because it contained the golden ratio?
(a) The sphere.
(b) The pentagram.
(c) The diamond.
(d) The hexagram.

13. Filippo Brunelleschi was born in approximately what year?
(a) 1377.
(b) 1414.
(c) 1520.
(d) 1601.

14. Any number multiplied by zero equals what?
(a) 1.
(b) 15.
(c) 0.
(d) -100.

15. Where did the Renaissance begin?
(a) Great Britain.
(b) France.
(c) Spain.
(d) Italy.

Short Answer Questions

1. The author states in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured” that for the Indians, numerals without geometric significance gave birth to what field of mathematics?

2. When did Nicholas of Cusa live?

3. The word “Renaissance” derives from what meaning?

4. What 12 Century rabbi sought to reconcile Greek philosophy with the Semitic Bible?

5. The Renaissance roughly spanned the period of what centuries?

(see the answer keys)

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