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Babylonia Mathematics

The Babylonians developed a form of writing based on cuneiform (i.e. wedge-shaped) symbols. Their symbols were written on wet clay tablets which were baked in the hot sun and many thousands of these tablets have survived to be read by us today. It was the use of a stylus on a clay medium that led to the use of cuneiform symbols since curved lines could not be drawn.

The Babylonians divided the day into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes, each minute into 60 seconds. This form of counting (hexasegimal or base 60) has survived for 4000 years. To write 5h 25' 30", i.e. 5 hours, 25 minutes, 30 seconds is just to write the base 60 fraction, 5 25/60 30/3600 or as a base 10 fraction 5 4/10 2/100 5/1000 which we write as 5.425 in decimal notation.( Following so far?)

They had tables of squares, square roots, cubes, cube roots, reciprocals, exponential functions, log functions..... They had knowledge of trigonometry, the Pythagorean theorem 1200 years before Pythagoreas did, and pi. They knew that certain equation solutions reduced to log tables based on a non repeating fraction that they approximated as 2.43 in base 60 (163/60 or 2.716666.. in base 10). This is the base to the natural logarithm "e". They reduced equations to the quadratic form and solved some polynomial equations to the eighth degree. Unlike the Greeks, to follow 1000 years later , the Babylonians thought in terms of algebra and trigonometry instead of geometry.

Whoah, pretty advanced thinkingforpretty ancient blokes!