## Wednesday, September 12, 2012

### Sangaku problem and C20

In the book "算法助述" I got from Mr. Horibe, there is an interesting problem in pp. 51-52 as shown in the following picture. As I mentioned before, Mr. Horibe made two beautiful bead models with a large metal sphere inside. And more importantly, large and small balls have the correct ratio of radii, R/r=sqrt{5}. He told me that he gave one of these two models to Hidetoshi Fukagawa, the author of the book "Sacred Mathematica - Japanese Temple Geometry", because, through Dr. Fukagawa, he knew so much about these interesting Japanese sangaku problems.
This Sangaku problem was originally proposed by Ishikawa Nagamasa and written on a tablet hung in 1798 in Tokyo’s Gyuto Tennosha shrine. I was quite surprised by that I could understand this ancient problem without any translation. It was written in Chinese (or Kanji):

"今有以小球三十個如圖圍大球，小球者各切臨球四個與大球，小球徑三百零五寸，問大球徑幾何？

In English:

Thirty small balls cover one big ball where each small ball touches four other small balls and big balls.
The radius of small ball is 305 inches. Find the radius of large ball.