phra nakhon si ayutthaya, lagoon, reflection

Ancient Math – A Journey in the Past

Mathematics was recognized as the king of science. It was used since ancient time by Egyptians and Babylonians. But if we are going to talk who were the first mathematicians. In fact in ancient Greek education and knowledge was valued so much that they wanted to learn anything about the world. We can call Greeks the best scientist of the past. One of the greatest mathematician of the Greeks was Pythagoras who gave one of the first mathematical proofs and discovered irrational numbers. The Pythagorean theorem relates the sides of a right triangle with their corresponding squares. In ancient times the first proof of math is written by Egyptians. Many proofs tell that the Egyptians had intermediate knowledge of the following mathematical problems: applications to surveying, salary distribution, calculation of area of simple geometric figures. Egyptians used “natural numbers like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.Their math system was more complex compared to Greeks and Babylonians. The Greeks were the first mathematicians. They thought that numbers were essential to reason. We know that applied mathematics gives us the tools we need to form the world around us. From the simple arithmetic of counting and also the complex functions and equations. There are 2 types of math : pure math and applied math. Ancient Greeks focused more on pure math. They studied the stars. For example math helped romans to become the best engineers of their time. Thanks to math they build road, giant bridges, tunnels, well constructed houses… Mathematics developed because of the need when civilizations settled and developed agriculture – for the measurement of plots of land, the taxation of individuals, etc – and this first occurred in the Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations of Mesopotamia and in ancient Egypt. According to some authorities, there is evidence of basic arithmetic and geometric notations on the petroglyphs at Knowth and Newgrange burial mounds in Ireland from about 3400 BCE and 3100 BCE. These utilize a repeated zig-zag glyph for counting, a system that continued to be used in Britain and Ireland into the 1st millennium BCE. Stonehenge, a Neolithic ceremonial and astronomical monument in England, which dates from around 2300 BCE, also arguably exhibits examples of the use of 60 and 360 in the circle measurements, a practice which presumably developed quite independently of the sexagesimal counting system of the ancient Sumerian and Babylonians. Ancient knowledge of the sciences and math was often wrong by modern standards. But not all the knowledge of the past people was false. Thanks to people like Euclid or Plato we may not have been as advanced in this age as we are. Mathematics is an “key” to ideas and creativity. Early in ancient time first man created a number system of base 10. When The primitive man used to count up to ten or 20 he saw himself as unique. As an object of a higher thinking, man invented ten number-sounds. The needs and possessions of primitive man were not many. When the need to count over ten aroused, he simply combined the number-sounds related with his fingers. So, if he wished to define one more than ten, he simply said one-ten. Thus our word eleven is simply a modern form of the Teutonic ein-lifon. Since those first sounds were created, man has only added five new basic number-sounds to the ten primary ones. Many primitive man invented the same number of number-sounds as he had fingers, our number system is a decimal one, or a scale based on ten, consisting of limitless repetitions of the first ten number sounds. While some intelligent and well-schooled scholars might argue whether or not base ten is the most adequate number system, base ten is the irreversible favorite among all the nations. Of course, primitive man most certainly did not realize the concept of the number system he had just created The Babylonians were a race that used to count in both groups of ten and fifty. Babylonians were skilled in both algebra and number theory. Remaining clay tablets from the Babylonian records show solutions to first, second, and third degree equations The Babylonians used many of the more common cases of the Pythagorean Theorem for right triangles. They also used accurate formulas for solving the areas, volumes and other measurements of the easier geometric shapes as well as trapezoids. The Babylonian value for pi was a very rounded off three. Because of this crude approximation of pi, the Babylonians achieved only rough estimates of the areas of circles and other spherical, geometric objects. We all know that Greeks were able to advance their mathematics knowledge from Babylonians. Today Math has advanced thanks to many famous philosophers and early primitive people. Thanks to them we are able to take math to a further step in our society.

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