Babylonians developed trigonometry “superior” to modern day version 3,700 years ago

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/babylonians-trigonometry-develop-more-advanced-modern-mathematics-3700-years-ago-ancient-a7910936.html

The Ancient Babylonians knew about a form of trigonometry more advanced than the modern-day version – about 1,000 years before its supposed invention by the Ancient Greeks, academics in Australia say.

The astonishing claim is based on a 3,700-year-old clay tablet inscribed with a table of numbers.

Known as Plimpton 322, it is already known to contain evidence that the Babylonians knew Pythagoras’ famous equation for right-angled triangles, long before the Greek philosopher gave his name to it.

And researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have claimed it also shows the Babylonians developed a highly sophisticated form of trigonometry – the system of maths used to describe angles that has tortured generations of school pupils with sine, cosine and tangent.

The city of Babylon in Mesopotamia, an early cradle of human civilisation in what is now Iraq, was famed for its Hanging Gardens, said to be one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

And mathematician Dr Daniel Mansfield suggested its people developed trigonometry to help their architects design the city’s major buildings.

“Our research shows it’s a trigonometric table so unfamiliar and advanced that in some respects it’s superior to modern trigonometry,” he said.

“We’ve discovered these lines represent the ratios for a series of right-angled triangles ranging from almost a square to almost a flat line.

“This makes Plimpton 322 a powerful tool that could have been used for surveying fields or architectural calculations to build palaces, temples or step pyramids.”

Dr Mansfield explained that the Babylonians’ system of counting enabled them to perform complicated calculations more easily that mathematicians today.

“The Babylonians unique approach to arithmetic and geometry means this is not only the world’s oldest trigonometric table, it’s also the only completely accurate trigonometric table on record,” he said.

“Why? It all comes down to fractions. We count in base 10 which only has two exact fractions, one half, which is 0.5, and one fifth, which is 0.2.

“That’s problematic if you want to divide. For example, one dollar divided by three is 33 cents with one cent left over.

“The Babylonians counted in base 60, the same system we use for telling time. This has many more exact fractions.

“It doesn’t sound like much, but this allowed them to do a lot more exact division. One hour divided by three is 20 minutes – exactly.

“By using this system, the Babylonians were able to make calculations that completely avoided any inexact numbers, thereby avoiding any errors associated with multiplying those numbers.”

And the Babylonian system might actually have lessons for science today, he claimed.

———-

plimpton 322..322..really?

“the Babylonians knew Pythagoras’ famous equation for right-angled triangles, long before the Greek philosopher gave his name to it.”

who told them?

“The Babylonians unique approach to arithmetic and geometry means this is not only the world’s oldest trigonometric table, it’s also the only completely accurate trigonometric table on record,” he said.”

smart guys..

401

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~ by seeker401 on August 29, 2017.

3 Responses to “Babylonians developed trigonometry “superior” to modern day version 3,700 years ago”

  1. Reblogged this on Middle Eastern Eye.

  2. learned something new today.

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