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

Charles Seife
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What god within Hinduism represents both creator and destroyer?
(a) Ganesha.
(b) Pavarti.
(c) Shiva.
(d) Kartikeya.

2. The reason for the reform of the Gregorian calendar was to solidify what Christian holiday to a particular time of year?
(a) Passover.
(b) Easter.
(c) Pascha.
(d) Christmas.

3. The introduction of nothingness and zero into Jewish theology led in part to what offshoot Jewish mysticism?
(a) Kabbalism.
(b) Orthodoxy.
(c) Sufism.
(d) Hasidism.

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

5. The ancient Babylonians are credited with the creation of what calculation tool?
(a) The computer.
(b) The abacus.
(c) The calculator.
(d) The stick-stone.

Short Answer Questions

1. What symbol in the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 70?

2. What work by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations in Arabic?

3. 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?

4. What in graphical perspective refers to a point in the picture plane π that is determined by a line in space?

5. How many minutes made up an hour in the ancient Greek system?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the author describe the ancient Greek and Roman mathematical systems in Chapter 1, “Nothing Doing”?

2. What inventions is Blaise Pascal credited with, according to the author in Chapter 4, “The Infinite God of Nothing”?

3. What mathematical advancements were made by the ancient Egyptians?

4. How does the author describe the early counting systems of prehistoric mathematics in Chapter 1, “Nothing Doing”?

5. What advancements in mathematics were made by René Descartes?

6. How are ancient Babylonian mathematics described in Chapter 1, “Nothing Doing”?

7. How does the author describe the relationship between early Christianity and zero in Chapter 2, “Nothing Comes of Nothing”?

8. How did the Protestant Reformation influence the Aristotelian philosophy in the West?

9. How did zero enter into Indian mathematics, according to the author in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured”?

10. What mathematical properties of zero presented problems in the ancient world, according to the author in Chapter 1, “Nothing Doing”?

(see the answer keys)

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