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 term refers to the religious or philosophical concept that the soul is reborn after biological death?
(a) Creationism.
(b) Reincarnation.
(c) Dualism.
(d) Polytheism.

2. The author states in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured” that Indian mathematicians first learned of zero from the Babylonians by way of what?
(a) The Greek conquest.
(b) The Roman conquest.
(c) The Spanish Inquisition.
(d) The British Empire.

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

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

5. Approximately when was Zeno of Elea born?
(a) 490 BC.
(b) 230 BC.
(c) 459 BC.
(d) 560 BC.

Short Answer Questions

1. Approximately when did Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi live?

2. How was Giordano Bruno executed?

3. Where does the author say early medieval Jews took up residence and discovered that Aristotle’s aversion to zero contradicted Jewish theology in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured”?

4. Zero is the only number that when added to itself does what?

5. When did René Descartes live?

Short Essay Questions

1. What paradox of Zeno of Elea’s is presented by the author in Chapter 2, “Nothing Comes of Nothing”?

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

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

4. How does the author describe Islam’s history in the seventh century in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured”?

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

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

7. How did Aristotle approach the concept of zero, according to the author in Chapter 2, “Nothing Comes of Nothing”?

8. How did mathematics and the concept of zero evolve in India through the 5th Century AD?

9. How did Filippo Brunelleschi introduce the concept of zero to the Italian Renaissance?

10. How was zero dealt with in the Pythagorean view, according to the author in Chapter 2, “Nothing Comes of Nothing”?

(see the answer keys)

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