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colorful history. Oddly enough, it has application in California's education crisis.

Suppose you wished to know, for no apparently useful reason, what number had a

remainder of 2 when divided by 3; a remainder of 3 when divided by 4 and a

remainder of 1 when divided by 5. We'll give the workings in a moment, but for our

less patient readers the answer is 71. This can also be described as 11 modulo 60,

so other answers are 131, 191, 251 ...

As nearly as we can determine, this problem and a solution method were first

published as

attracted to it because of a mis-translation of the author's name: we thought it was

by the esteemed military theorist Sun Tzu. Sadly, there are almost no details about

either the mathematician or the general. We are not able to confidently give a date

closer than somewhere between the third and fifth century to the book. The

material was republished in China in 1247, but in the interim the great Indian

mathematicians Aryabhata (6th century) and Brahmagupta (7th century) as well

as that Italian lover of rabbits, Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (1170? - 1250?), more

commonly known as Fibonacci, also worked on the problem.

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