A new discovery has been made that has changed history after it was translated by Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia. It came about while studying a 3,700-year-old tablet.
According to The Telegraph, the tablet is from the ancient civilization of Babylon. The tablet is pure evidence that the Babylonians were doing trigonometry. That’s a pretty big deal to discover considering historians credited the Greeks for discovering the study of sides and angles.
But this tablet is proof that the Babylonians were using this trigonometric technique about 1,500 years prior to the Greeks. This discovery can change the way we calculate things today. Mansfield and his team are incredibly excited about such a find.
According to Mansfield, the tablet is known as Plimpton 32 and was discovered in the early 1900s in Southern Iraq by American archaeologist Edgar Banks.
Fun fact; he’s the guy who was the inspiration for Indiana Jones. What this tablet actually meant eluded experts until Mansfield and his team figured it out.
According to scientists, this table is not only the world’s oldest table, but it’s the most accurate as well. It was used by ancient architects to build temples, palaces, and canals.
So you’re probably wondering how this tablet really changed the world of math and how people think in general.
The Telegraph breaks it down for us all. Essentially, unlike today’s trigonometry, the Babylonian mathematics used a base 60, or sexagesimal system.
This is different from the 10 which we use in today’s society. So because 60 is way easier to divide up by three, experts studying the tablet found the calculations way more accurate.
Daniel Mansfield told news reports, “Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angled triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles.”
He continued, noting “It’s a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius. The tablet not only contains the world’s older trigonometric table, it’s also the only accurate trigonometric table.”