3700 Year Old Babylonian Tablet of Trigonometry Tables

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• jedishrfu
In summary, a 3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet with possible implications for modern trigonometry has been translated, revealing possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics, and education. The tablet contains Pythagorean triples written as ratios, leading to speculation that they may be intended as trigonometric function values. However, there is still uncertainty surrounding the true purpose of the tablet.

jedishrfu

Mentor
TL;DR Summary
Translated tablet shows Babylonians knew Trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks did.

Astranut, FactChecker, pinball1970 and 1 other person
diogenesNY, jedishrfu, FactChecker and 1 other person
Office_Shredder said:
I think has no implications for how we should do trigonometry.
I do not understand your post. Why is this quote relevant to the historical observation?

Buzz Bloom said:
I do not understand your post. Why is this quote relevant to the historical observation?

Because the third paragraph of the original article is

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."

Buzz Bloom
I didn't see the "translation" part. Is there a link to the translation of the tablet and what it means? Thanks.

The Wikipedia article does a good job of summarizing it

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plimpton_322

Basically it contains some Pythagorean triples. They are written as ratios so maybe they are intended to be considered as trig function values. There's an open question about whether the Pythagorean triples are even the end goal of the tablet, or if they're just an intermediate step in solving something that's broken off.

berkeman