3,700-year-old tablet proves ancient Babylonians knew trigonometry better than modern mathematicians

(ORDO NEWS) — Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have made an incredible discovery.

While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something amazing: trigonometry!

Most historians credit the Greeks with learning the sides and angles of triangles, but this tablet provides undeniable evidence that the Babylonians used this technique 1,500 years before the Greeks did.

Mansfield and his team are understandably incredibly proud of this. They discovered that the tablet was actually an ancient trigonometric table.

Mansfield says, “The great mystery until now has been their purpose as to why the ancient scribes performed the complex task of creating and sorting the numbers on the tablet.

Our research shows that the tablet describes the shapes of right triangles using a new type of trigonometry based on ratios rather than angles and circles. This is a complex mathematical work, demonstrating undeniable genius.”

“The table contains not only the oldest trigonometric table in the world, but also the only completely accurate trigonometric table due to a completely different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry.

This means that it is of great importance for our modern world and has possible practical applications in geodesy, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of how the ancient world teaches us something new.”

The tablet appeared before the Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who was long considered the father of trigonometry. Mansfield’s colleague Norman Widberger added:

“This table is more than 1000 years older than Hipparchus. Oan opens up new opportunities not only for modern mathematical research, but also for mathematical education. We see a simpler and more precise trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own.”

“There is a storehouse of Babylonian tablets, but so far only a fraction of them have been studied. The mathematical world is just beginning to recognize the fact that this ancient but very complex mathematical culture has a lot to teach us.”

Mathematicians actually believe that studying the knowledge of the Babylonians of that time could help us improve the methods in which we do trigonometry today.


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