The mathematical tablet with which Babylon 1400 years ahead in astronomy

The mathematical tablet with which Babylon 1400 years ahead in astronomy

  • A clay tablets kept in the British Museum show that the Babylonian astronomers centuries Europeans were ahead 14.
  • Geometric figures tablets help to track the position of Jupiter.

They have an appearance similar to a cookie, but some clay tablets with cuneiform served in the former Babylon to continue to Jupiter. The results of the study published in Science shows that the Mesopotamian civilization was ahead 14 centuries in this important astronomical knowledge. Before the appearance of this work it was thought that these calculations had been estimated by researchers at Oxford and Paris around 1350. Geometric figures tablets help keep the position of Jupiter

Nothing is further from reality. Babylonian astronomers, as well as making important contributions to the 360 ​​division of the sky were also able to predict the positions of the planets using mathematical operations. Research by Mathieu Ossendrijver, doctor in astrophysics at the Humboldt University (Germany), is an example of perseverance. The scientist traveled one week annually in the last fourteen years to London. Its objective? Visit the British Museum, the institution that housed the clay tablets translate Ossendrijver set.

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According to the results, the tablets dated between 350 and 50 BC contain sophisticated calculations to determine the position of Jupiter. The method is based on determining a curious geometric appreciation: the trapezoids will show how Jupiter slowing over time. Thus, the area of ​​this geometric figure would have served in ancient Babylon to determine the distance traveled by the planet. Clay tablets would show therefore the position of Jupiter at 60 and 120 days after it appeared on the horizon. The mathematical “secret” that contained these four tablets is the first evidence of the use of geometric methods by astronomers of Babylon, which until now was thought that only worked -those related arithmetic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division -.

Mathieu Ossendrijver (Science) – British Museum

British Museum London hosted the first two tablets since 1955. Ciencuenta years after this first file, astrophysicist Ossendrijver became interested in the history of science. So it was that in 2012 published the first book that resulted from Babylonian tablets with mathematical calculations and astronomical data. A work that would form the basis for this patient work done between 2002 and 2008, which, interestingly, research and religion meet. In the city of Babylon, the god Marduk was directly related to Jupiter. The connection seemed obvious, but needed further proof Ossendrijver translate clay tablets.

This test came from the hand of Hermann Hunger a Assyriologist retired University of Vienna who showed him photographs of discontinued in 2014 tablets. The association between these systems and the “astronomical computing” was more evident than ever. By studying the geometric ideas on the tablets, astrophysicist realized posed abstract mathematical ideas about movement, position and time, much more complex than those developed by the Greeks centuries later. The concepts outlined in the slats sheltered in the British Museum showed that Europeans were not the first to go to Jupiter to these calculations, but Babylonian astronomy was ahead 1400 years to the knowledge of scientists from Europe.

Bibliography ► (January 29, 2016). The mathematical tablet with which Babylon 1400 years ahead in astronomy. Recovered from