Trigonometry table found on Babylonian tablet

Oct 7, 2022 | Saskatoon

Did you know..

While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet (named Plimpton 322) from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing trigonometry (which was attriibuted to the Greeks 1500 years later).


"With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trig. (with) clear advantages over our own."

The ancient Babylonians – who lived from about 4,000 BCE in what is now Iraq – had a long forgotten understanding of right-angled triangles that was much simpler and more accurate than the conventional trigonometry we are taught in schools.

"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."


Some mathematicians think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we teach and use trigonometry today.


Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry more exciting!


Source Articles here:

Historia Mathematica Volume 44, Issue 4, November 2017, Pages 395-419 Daniel F.Mansfield & .J.Wildberger