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)

Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn View article Comments
Print

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

Copyright information

Tags, Ratings and Social Bookmarking

Ratings

No votes yet

Share

Be the first to post a comment

Leave a comment
Sign in or create your OpenLearn account to join the discussion.

We invite you to discuss this subject, but remember this is a public forum.
Please be polite, and avoid your passions turning into contempt for others. We may delete posts that are rude or aggressive; or edit posts containing contact details or links to other websites.

Other content you may like

Exploring distance time graphs Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Exploring distance time graphs

Graphs are a common way of presenting information. However, like any other type of representation, graphs rely on shared understandings of symbols and styles to convey meaning. Also, graphs are normally drawn specifically with the intention of presenting information in a particularly favourable or unfavourable light, to convince you of an argument or to influence your decisions. This free course, Exploring distance time graphs, will enable you to explain, construct, use and interpret distance-time graphs.

Free course
12 hrs
Modelling with Fourier series Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Modelling with Fourier series

This free course, Modelling with Fourier series, shows how partial differential equations can be used to model phenomena such as waves and heat transfer. The prerequisite requirements to gain full advantage from this free course are an understanding of ordinary differential equations and basic familiarity with partial differential equations.

Free course
16 hrs
Beating The Bookies? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Beating The Bookies?

The Ever Wondered team gave financial guru Alvin Hall a fiver and sent him off to a greyhound track to explore how you can use numbers to shorten the odds

Article
First-order differential equations Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

First-order differential equations

This free course, First-order differential equations, introduces the topic of differential equations. The subject is developed without assuming that you have come across it before, but it is taken for granted that you have a basic grounding in calculus. In particular, you will need to have a good grasp of the basic rules for differentiation and integration.

Free course
16 hrs
Finding information in mathematics and statistics Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Finding information in mathematics and statistics

As part of a review of content, this course will be deleted from OpenLearn on 18 May 2017. If you are interested in similar courses, go to the 'Skills' tab and look under 'Skills for Study'. This free course, Finding information in mathematics and statistics, will help you to identify and use information in maths and statistics, whether for your work, study or personal purposes. Experiment with some of the key resources in this subject area, and learn about the skills which will enable you to plan searches for information, so you can find what you are looking for more easily. Discover the meaning of information quality, and learn how to evaluate the information you come across. You will also be introduced to the many different ways of organising your own information, and learn how to reference it properly in your work. Finally, discover how to keep up to date with the latest developments in your area of interest by using tools such as RSS and mailing lists.

Free course
9 hrs
How to compare income across countries Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Wingspan Productions video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

How to compare income across countries

When we want to compare figures from two different countries, what makes for a fair basis of comparison? Tony Hirst and Hans Rosling explain. 

Video
45 mins
Talking primes Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Talking primes

What is so magical about prime numbers - and what makes them musical? The Material World wanted to find out...

Article
Geometry Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Geometry

Geometry is concerned with the various aspects of size, shape and space. In this free course you will explore the concepts of angles, shapes, symmetry, area and volume through interactive activities.

Free course
5 hrs
Take a trip to infinity Creative commons image Icon Guiseppe Savo under CC-BY-NC-ND licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Take a trip to infinity

The concept of ‘infinity’ has enchanted and perplexed the world’s leading mathematicians for centuries. Through her outreach work in schools, Dr Katie Chicot, Staff Tutor in the OU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has been introducing thousands of students to the wonders and mysteries of the infinite. Let her be your guide for a brief excursion through eternity.

Article