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

Charles Seife
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 130 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. 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?

2. When did Nicholas of Cusa live?

3. The ancient Babylonians are credited with the creation of what calculation tool?

4. Zeno of Elea followed what Eleatic school founder in believing that the nature of the universe was changeless and immobile?

5. How is zero represented in Roman numerals?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What were Blaise Pascal’s theological beliefs? How was zero viewed in his beliefs?

3. What Italian mathematician was responsible for the introduction of zero to Christianity and the Western world, according to the author in Chapter 3, “Nothing Ventured”?

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

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

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

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

8. How are multiplication and division involving zero described in Chapter 1, “Nothing Doing”?

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

10. What caused the USS Yorktown to have a computer meltdown in 1997, according to the author in Chapter 0, “Null and Void”? How is the ship described?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe and discuss the origins and development of mathematics in Indian society. From whom did India adopt the concept of zero? How did the beliefs of Hinduism deal with the concept of zero? Why and how was this different than Christianity’s viewpoint of the void?

Essay Topic 2

Describe the USS Yorktown and its computer crash in 1997 as examined in Chapter 0, “Null and Void.” What program was the ship a test-bed for in the U.S. Navy? What caused the crash? How was the problem approached?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the biography and the mathematical and philosophical contributions of Archimedes of Syracuse. How did Archimedes first encounter the infinite? How did this discovery influence his work and the work of mathematicians after him?

(see the answer keys)

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