The Egyptians were great mathematicians. They solved all kinds of problems using calculations such as marking the boundaries of the land when the Nile overflowed, the construction of pyramids, trade, distribution, etc. They knew the natural numbers and they used fractions with numerator 1, the unit fractions.
An Egyptian fraction is a unit fraction and any fraction is a sum of different unit fractions. For example the fraction 11/16 it is written as the sum of the following unit fractions:
Egyptian fractions were used, among other things, to solve problems of equitable distribution. In the Rhind papyrus, which dates back to 1650 BC, the following problem was found: Share 6 breads among 10 men.
- Write as a sum of Egyptian fractions
- Share 6 chocolate bars between 8 friends
- Distribute 10 sacks of rice among 16 people