The ancient Babylonians were a remarkable bunch. Among many extraordinary achievements, they found a now-famous mathematical solution to an unpleasant challenge: paying tax.
The particular problem for the ordinary working Babylonian was this: Given a tax bill that has to be paid in crops, by how much should I increase the size of my field to pay it?
This problem can be written down as a quadratic equation of the form Ax2+Bx+C=0. And it is solved with this formula: