College of Arts and Sciences
Primary Subject Area
Beginning over 4000 years ago, the Babylonians were discovering how to use mathematics to perform functions of daily life and to evolve as a dominant civilization. Since the beginning of the 1800s, about half a million Babylonian tablets have been discovered, fewer than five hundred of which are mathematical in nature. Scholars translated these texts by the end of the 19th century. It is from these tablets that we gain an appreciation for the Babylonians’ apparent understanding of mathematics and the manner in which they used some key mathematical concepts. Through this thesis, the author will provide background information about the Babylonians and then explain the manner in which the Babylonians used a number system, the square root of 2, “Pythagorean” mathematics, and equations.