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3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet is found to be the earliest example of applied geometry
by Madeleine Muzdakis

My Modern Met    Translate This Article
8 August 2021

On 8 August 2021 My Modern Met reported: Even if you're not a mathematician, you may have heard of the Pythagorean theorem in school. This method of calculating the side lengths of right triangles is named for the 6th century BCE Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras. Simply, the theorem states that the square of one leg of a right triangle, plus the square of the other leg, is equal to the square of the hypotenuse. It turns out that knowledge of this property of right triangles actually predates Pythagoras. A recent paper published in Foundations of Science describes an Old Babylonian clay tablet which proves that ancient surveyors used what are known as Pythagorean triples to accurately and precisely divide their land. Global Good News service views this news as a sign of rising positivity in the field of science, documenting the growth of life-supporting, evolutionary trends.

... This discovery is evidence of the first known use of applied geometry, over a thousand years before Pythagoras lived. While the Greeks developed trigonometry (study of triangles) in an astronomical context, this Old Babylonian use of triangles appears to be largely practical.

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