Author Topic: "Babylonian tablet Plimpton 322 will make studying maths easier"  (Read 87 times)

Xepera maSet

AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

pi_ramesses

Re: "Babylonian tablet Plimpton 322 will make studying maths easier"
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2017, 09:40:38 pm »
This is literally the best news I have heard all week. So extraordinary. The harmony of the spheres uncovered again.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 09:58:57 pm by pi_ramesses »
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic atur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

Kapalika

Re: "Babylonian tablet Plimpton 322 will make studying maths easier"
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 09:01:52 am »
Ah! I remember reading this a couple of days ago.

well, base 60 makes it easier. Look at angles... which we use for triangles... 360 degrees in a complete turn around... 60x6. Why no one thought of using base 60 sooner for trig I'm surprised, but I guess it's more of a case of finding the missing piece where someone already did the work lol.

Sometimes you are so used to seeing it from your own perspective (in this case base 10) that it's hard to really fully think through another perspective. Discoveries like this show that we really are the same people we were thousands of years ago. 4,000 years isn't long, really evolutionary speaking. Crazy to imagine such ancient people as just like us in every what but culturally.

According to UNSW, Plimpton 322 is a trigonometric table that is the world's only completely accurate one, because it only includes Pythagorean triangles with side lengths that are whole numbers.

"This ensures that the ratios of sides and squared ratios can be represented in the table without approximation," Dr Mansfield said.

"It's rare that the ancient world teaches us something new.


I'm actually curious how this really plays out... it will work perfectly for triangles (which all shapes can be broken down into multiple of really) but I'm wondering how wide this tablet could see application in mathematics over our base 10 understandings. If the Imperial system taught me anything people are slow to change to more efficient systems once set in their ways  :mrgreen:

I do recall actually in a book by Roger Penrose IIRC (Road to Reality) that  he did for a while use the base 60 at at least one point in the first 100 or so pages to get across some physical ideas.. he might of mentioned it later again (I'd have to go find my copy in some boxes)... in any case maybe, depending on the actual contents (no idea I'm not super great at math lol), physics could get some good applications out of it as well.
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pi_ramesses

Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic atur ad astra
Nylfmedli14