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. René Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician who spent most of his adult life where?
(a) Great Britain.
(b) The Dutch Republic.
(c) Northern Africa.
(d) South America.

2. What word did the Arabs use for zero during Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi’s time?
(a) Sifr.
(b) Zephyr.
(c) Zeno.
(d) Siro.

3. Zero is the only number that when added to itself does what?
(a) Increases.
(b) Remains unchanged.
(c) Turns into an imaginary number.
(d) Decreases.

4. What term refers to the worship of multiple deities?
(a) Atertheism.
(b) Omnitheism.
(c) Polytheism.
(d) Monotheism.

5. The author states in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured” that the Indians borrowed Greek geometry but never worried about what?
(a) Recording or calculating area.
(b) Symbols for numerals.
(c) The diagonal of the square.
(d) The Pythagorean Theorem.

6. When did Nicholas of Cusa live?
(a) 1305-1339.
(b) 1401-1464.
(c) 1501-1559.
(d) 1623-1698.

7. What region in the Middle East is widely considered to be the cradle of civilization?
(a) The Mayan Region.
(b) The Nile Region.
(c) The Fertile Crescent.
(d) The Twin Towers.

8. Zeno of Elea followed what Eleatic school founder in believing that the nature of the universe was changeless and immobile?
(a) Archimedes.
(b) Pythagoras.
(c) Parmenides.
(d) Aeschylus.

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

10. What work by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations in Arabic?
(a) Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing.
(b) An Index of Arabic Books.
(c) A book of Annals.
(d) The Death of the Prophet.

11. The author states in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured” that India adopted a Babylonian style number system around what century?
(a) 1st Century.
(b) 6th Century.
(c) 5th Century.
(d) 2nd Century.

12. What refers to a system in which the location of a point is given by coordinates that represent its distances from perpendicular lines that intersect at a point called the origin?
(a) The Pythagorean system.
(b) The Babylonian system.
(c) Cartesian coordinate system.
(d) The Golden Ratio.

13. What does the author refer to as “zero’s twin” in the book?
(a) Seven.
(b) Thirteen.
(c) One.
(d) Infinity.

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

15. The preclassic Maya and their neighbors supposedly developed the concept of zero by what year?
(a) 10 BC.
(b) 50 BC.
(c) 36 BC.
(d) 23 BC.

Short Answer Questions

1. The Italian word “zefiro,” meaning “west wind” derived from what Latin and Greek word?

2. Where did the Renaissance begin?

3. How is zero represented in Roman numerals?

4. Who founded the House of Wisdom that was established in Abbasid-era Baghdad, Iraq?

5. What name refers to sutra texts belonging to the Śrauta ritual and containing geometry related to fire-altar construction?

(see the answer keys)

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