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Roman Numerals: A Thing of the Past?

SCRANTON — It’s something you don’t think about often or even see much anymore, roman numerals. That is of course until you hear the words “Super Bowl.”

You don’t really see them that often anymore, driving through downtown Scranton we found some on a clock hanging from PNC Bank, but other than that we couldn’t find much.

With that in mind we headed to the University of Scranton to find out if roman numerals have become a thing of the past.

Reporter:”What do you know about roman numerals? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”

“Um I haven’t used them since like third grade, I don’t know much about them,” said Kristen Thomas, a student.

We decided to give a little test, writing and reading roman numerals to see how much the students know.

Reporter: “Whats the first thing that jumps out at you?”

Kristen: “I think this is a hundred, and I think this is fifty, but I’m not sure what this one is.”

Reporter: “So what number is that then?”

Kristen: “Um I’d say like 155 maybe?”

The actual number was 45, but she did get some of the symbols right.

It wasn’t until I said the words Super Bowl, then it seemed everyone remembered where they had seen roman numerals and what they mean.

“Yea Super Bowl and text books, that’s it really,” said Bridget Miller, a student.

Reporter:”So would you be able to write Superbowl 47?”

Bridget: “Probably, I can try.”

With a little help from her friend, she was able to do it!

It turns out students at the University of Scranton aren’t the only ones who think roman numerals are a thing of the past. ABC’s TV show “The Middle” did a skit about them too.

“Mom, you gotta help me study, here, it’s the constitutional amendments. And just so you know those are roman numerals, turns out they’re not just for Super Bowls,” from ABC’s “The Middle.”

We found one University of Scranton grad student who knows all about roman numerals .

Reporter: “Explain to me what you did over here on the side.”

“Cause we know the formula, so X is 10, L is 50, C is 100 and I is 1, so we just did math,” said Tom Conmy, a history student.

As it turns out, roman numerals aren’t just for the Super Bowl.


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