Amazon.com Widgets
James Frey Official Website
Join the JAMES FREY mailing list
Click

Astronomy Babylon

from The Washington Post

Clay tablets reveal Babylonians discovered astronomical geometry 1,400 years before Europeans

By Joel Achenbach

Text A. (Trustees of the British Museum/Mathieu Ossendrijver)

The medieval mathematicians of Oxford, toiling in torchlight in a land ravaged by plague, managed to invent a simple form of calculus that could be used to track the motion of heavenly bodies. But now a scholar studying ancient clay tablets suggests that the Babylonians got there first, and by at least 1,400 years.

The astronomers of Babylonia, scratching tiny marks in soft clay, used surprisingly sophisticated geometry to calculate the orbit of what they called the White Star — the planet Jupiter.

These tablets are quite incomprehensible to the untrained eye. Thousands of clay tablets — many unearthed in the 19th century by adventurers hoping to build museum collections in Europe, the United States and elsewhere — remain undeciphered.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on January 28, 2016 by Editor

Filed under Culture Music Art | | No Comments »