Mathematical models: from sundials to number engines: Track 1

Featuring: Video Video Audio Audio

Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have used everyday materials to create mathematical models of the world around them. This album explores the ancient Greeks' astrolabe as a model of the skies; the sundial, to tell the time; Babylonian clay tablets to record wages and trading of sheep; wooden tallies for bulk-buying beer, the Incas' use of knots and string, and the sophisticated number-engine invented by Charles Babbage. This material forms part of The Open University course MST121 Using mathematics.

By: The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams)

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Track 1: Mathematical models: from sundials to number engines

A short introduction to this album.


© The Open University 2010


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Mathematical models: from sundials to number engines    A short introduction to this album. Play now Mathematical models: from sundials to number engines
2 The sundial as a mathematical model    An ancient mathematical tool to measure the daily and annual cycles of the earth around the sun. Play now The sundial as a mathematical model
3 Reading the sky with the astrolabe    How the Greeks invented a two dimensional astrolabe as a conceptual model of the cosmos, and how it was used. Play now Reading the sky with the astrolabe
4 Recording sales in clay tablets    Clay tokens, an ancient system used to record goods changing hands. Play now Recording sales in clay tablets
5 Incas and their knots    How South American Incas kept records by the use of knots. Play now Incas and their knots
6 Wooden tallies for buying beer    How wholesale beer sales were recorded using notches on wooden tallies. Play now Wooden tallies for buying beer
7 John Napier's mathematical creations    John Napier's method of multiplication and logarithms, and how Charles Babbage corrected his calculations. Play now John Napier's mathematical creations
8 Babbage's engine of precision    Charles Babbage's ingenious mechanical device to compute mathematical equations. Play now Babbage's engine of precision