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Researchers Discover Babylonian Tablet Is Ancient Trig Table

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The table of trigonometric values was made more than a thousand years before math historians thought trigonometry was invented.


In one of your math classes, you might have been taught that geometry and trigonometry were products of the ancient Greeks. That's not entirely accurate, as a new discovery proves that both were invented by the Babylonians a thousand years earlier.

Researchers at UNSW Sydney have been studying an ancient Babylonian tablet, and they believe they've finally figured out what it's for. The tablet, known as Plimpton 322, was previously identified as a table filled with sets of Pythagorean triples, but nobody knew its purpose was anything more than an educational tool.


Pythagorean triples are sets of numbers that correspond to the sides of right triangles. They're numbers that work inside the Pythagorean theorem, a²+b²=c². Previously, researchers thought that Plimpton 322 might be some sort of teaching aid for the simply geometric equation, but the UNSW Sydney team believes it's much more important.




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