World's Oldest Decimal Times Table Found in China
The newly deciphered multiplication table, written on bamboo strips dated to 310 B.C., was more sophisticated than earlier versions.
Q: How much is 230 times 10?
A crack team of scholars in Beijing learned this last year when they solved a 23-centuries-old puzzle. And it only took them five years.
The complex mathematical problem arose in 2008, when an alumnus of Tsinghua University donated a bundle of ink-inscribed bamboo strips he'd bought at a Hong Kong art market.
But the strips were an inscrutable mess. They were out of order, and some were broken. All were reeking, caked in mud and mold.
Clearly they'd come from a looted tomb. But what were they?
On the top floor of Tsinghua's Research and Conservation Center for Excavated Texts, a multidisciplinary team of researchers got together—and got to work. Laying out the 2,500 strips in