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Old 09-02-2017, 11:10 PM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
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Sept 3rd, 2017: Old Math

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A 3,700-year-old clay tablet has proven that the Babylonians developed trigonometry 1,500 years before the Greeks and were using a sophisticated method of mathematics which could change how we calculate today.
Nope, we don’t need a more sophisticated method to do trig, do you computer? Beep Boop Beep.



Quote:
The tablet, known as Plimpton 332, was discovered in the early 1900s in Southern Iraq by the American archaeologist and diplomat Edgar Banks, who was the inspiration for Indiana Jones.
The true meaning of the tablet has eluded experts until now but new research by the University of New South Wales, Australia, has shown it is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, which was probably used by ancient architects to construct temples, palaces and canals.
However unlike today’s trigonometry, Babylonian mathematics used a base 60, or sexagesimal system, rather than the 10 which is used today. Because 60 is far easier to divide by three, experts studying the tablet, found that the calculations are far more accurate.
More accurate when working out problems manually.

Quote:
The tablet, which is thought to have come from the ancient Sumerian city of Larsa, has been dated to between 1822 and 1762 BC. It is now in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University in New York.
“Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1000 years,” says Dr Wildberger.
“It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own.
“A treasure-trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us.”
Dr Wildberger is a nerd, truly excited about finding new stuff about ancient civilizations, but overly optimistic
about this affecting our society in any way.
I don't remember Babylonians putting a man on the moon.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:31 AM   #2
Scriveyn
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
I don't remember Babylonians putting a man on the moon.
Ye young men wouldn't, just let me see where I put the batteries for my Plimpton 332 tablet and I'll show ye.

Here's a more recent model:
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:08 AM   #3
xoxoxoBruce
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Once you put the battery in does it care if it's base 60 or base 10?
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:00 AM   #4
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I was wondering how the simplicity of base 60 math would be complicated by having 60 individual digits.

But it turns out they used base 10 to enumerate their digits.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:01 AM   #5
Scriveyn
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Binary, decimal, sexagesimal - tablets don't care.Humans might care if one or the other works faster.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexagesimal#Usage
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Old 09-03-2017, 12:49 PM   #6
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Take two tablets and call me in the morning.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Happy Monkey View Post
I was wondering how the simplicity of base 60 math would be complicated by having 60 individual digits.

But it turns out they used base 10 to enumerate their digits.
Base ten is hardwired. But I'm fascinated by the 12 x 5 method of counting 'place' on one hand, and the 12 knuckles of the other four fingers with the thumb of the other hand, arriving at 60 units. I've heard that's the origin of some of the groups of 12 still commonly used.
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Old 09-04-2017, 07:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Flint View Post
Base ten is hardwired. But I'm fascinated by the 12 x 5 method of counting 'place' on one hand, and the 12 knuckles of the other four fingers with the thumb of the other hand, arriving at 60 units. I've heard that's the origin of some of the groups of 12 still commonly used.
dozen surprise me
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:26 PM   #9
Griff
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well played
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