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Trigonometric table found on 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet

The world's oldest trigonometric table has been found on a 3,700-year-old cuneiform tablet housed at Columbia University. At least 1,000 years before the Greek mathematician Pythagoras looked at a right angled triangle and worked out that the square of the longest side is always equal to the sum of the squares

2,300-year-old times table found on Chinese bamboo strips

Archaeologists in China have pieced together a collection of 2,500 bamboo strips which contain 65 ancient texts, including the world's oldest example of a multiplication table. The researchers suspect that officials used the multiplication table to calculate surface area of land, yields of crops and the amounts of taxes owed. “We

Aztec surveyors were very accurate

A mathematical review of the Codex Vergara, a document which contains detailed map of 386 farms, has shown that Aztec surveyors were incredibly accurate. Using these records, Clara Garza-Hume, a mathematician at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, and colleagues went back to the codex to check the

The world’s first protractor

An object found in the tomb of an Egyptian architect may be the world's first protractor. The architect Kha helped to build pharaohs' tombs during the 18th dynasty, around 1400 BC. His own tomb was discovered intact in 1906 by archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in Deir-al-Medina, near the Valley of the Kings.

Ancient Egyptian mathematics

The New York Times has an interesting piece about the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, a 3,600 year old document that contains 85 different math problems. The Rhind papyrus, which dates to 1650 B.C., is one of several precocious papyri and other artifacts displaying Egyptian mathematical ingenuity. There is the Moscow Mathematical

Wooden tablet with multiplication sums found in Japan

A wooden tablet etched with multiplication sums, dating back to the late Nara Period (710-784), has been unearthed in Nara, Japan. It is believed that the wooden tablet, or "mokkan," was used by an official for times table practice."The characters are not that tidy, and it was probably used by

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