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Babylonian mathematics

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This free course looks at Babylonian mathematics. You will learn how a series of discoveries has enabled historians to decipher stone tablets and study the various techniques the Babylonians used for problem-solving and teaching. The Babylonian problem-solving skills have been described as remarkable and scribes of the time received a training far in advance of anything available in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • know something about cuneiform how it was used to represent numbers for mathematical problem solving and computation;
  • understand the relationship between a decimal place-value system and a sexagesimal one;
  • appreciate the advanced understanding of mathematics in Ancient Mesopotamia in relation to anyone in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 8 hours
  • Updated Friday 31st August 2012
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Mathematics
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Babylonian mathematics

Introduction

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This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Topics in the history of mathematics (MA290) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

This unit looks at Babylonian mathematics. You will learn how a series of discoveries have enabled historians to decipher stone tablets and study the various techniques the Babylonians used for problem-solving and teaching. The Babylonian problem-solving skills have been described as remarkable and scribes of the time received a training far in advance of anything available in medieval Christian Europe 3000 years later.

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