Mathematical models: from sundials to number engines: Track 1

Featuring: VideoVideo AudioAudio

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