Egyptian Fractions

A quote from Manfred R. Schroeder’s Number Theory in Science and Communication:

A rich sheik, shortly before his death (in one of his limousines; he probably wasn’t buckled up) bought 11 identical cars, half of which he willed to his eldest daughter, one quarter to his middle daughter, and one sixth to his youngest daughter. But the problem arose how to divide the 11 cars in strict accordance with the will of the (literally) departed, without smashing any more cars. A new-car dealer offered help by lending the heirs a brand-new identical vehicle so that each daughter could now receive a whole car: the eldest 6, the middle 3 and the youngest 2. And lo and behold, after the girls (and their retinues) had driven off, one car remained for the dealer to reclaim!

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One Response to Egyptian Fractions

  1. gmlk says:

    The will is 1/12th short:

    1/2 1/4 1/6
    = 6/12 3/12 2/12
    = 11/12

    Who got that 1/12th?

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