Plimpton 322 is a Babylonian clay tablet found in the ancient city of Larsa in present-day Iraq. The table dates to about 1800 BC. Scientists have deciphered the inscription on this 3,500-year-old tablet that completely rewrote the history of modern mathematics.
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The Plimpton 322 clay tablet is notable for containing a list of Pythagorean triples, sets of integers that satisfy the Pythagorean theorem. As we already know from school, this is a basic concept in mathematics and describes the relationship between the sides of a right triangle. Many publications have also been published about the Plimpton table to learn.
Prehistoric calculations were indeed accurate
Plimpton’s Table 322 consists of 15 rows and four columns of figures and is believed to have been used by ancient Babylonian scribes to calculate the dimensions of right triangles for various construction and measurement purposes.
The numbers in the table are arranged systematically, and the table has been studied for many years by mathematicians and historians to understand the Babylonian approach to mathematics. Thanks to this table, we were able to clarify that the Babylonians knew the discovery of the Pythagorean theorem more than a thousand years before it was traditionally attributed to the Greek mathematician. Pythagoras.
The Pythagorean theorem is a little different
However, the Babylonian approach to using the Pythagorean triangle was different from today’s, and we can still learn a lot about the Babylonian tableau and approach to mathematics.
Artifacts from ancient civilizations give us insight into their complex social and scientific achievements. Complex artifacts offer us a larger window, and Plimpton 322 is undeniably complex. However, thanks to this, we can understand the now forgotten ancient approach to trigonometry, which is based on exact sex-minority ratios.
The approximate nature of modern trigonometry is so culturally constructed that we don’t think about it. That’s why modern scientists are so surprised when they discover that a long-forgotten culture actually developed trigonometry, which contained only accurate information.
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In one analysis of the table, the researchers concluded that it was so accurate that any inaccuracy was a result of using the table rather than the table itself. Thus, Plimpton 322 can be considered a very accurate sexagesimal trigonometric table with some optimized principles.
Plimpton 322 is the first trigonometric table and also the only accurate trigonometric table. “Irrational numbers and their approximations are considered necessary for classical metric geometry, but here we show that they are not actually necessary for trigonometry. If the dice of history had fallen differently and the deep mathematical knowledge of the scribe who created Plimpton 322 had not been lost, then ratio trigonometry would probably have developed alongside our angular approach.” mathematicians concluded a study that raised the table to the true pinnacle of mathematics as a science in general.
Plimpton 322 in the modern world
This new interpretation of P322 significantly raises the status of Babylonian mathematics, and the large number of untranslated tables probably hides many more surprises waiting to be discovered.
Although the discovery of trigonometry is attributed to the ancient Greeks, it must now be reevaluated in the light of the older, computationally simpler, and more accurate Babylonian style of precise gender minor trigonometry. Moreover, Plimpton 322 is so historically significant that it brings to bear the basic assumptions of our own mathematical culture.