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Masters of Math, From Old Babylon

Masters of Math, From Old Babylon By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN Published: November 26, 2010 If the cost of digging a trench is 9 gin, and the trench has a length of 5 ninda and is one-half ninda deep, and if a worker’s daily load of earth costs 10 gin to move, and his daily wages are 6 se of silver, then how wide is the canal? Enlarge This Image

Librado Romero/The New York Times The tablet called Plimpton 322 at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, part of a new exhibition, “Before Pythagoras.” Blog

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Librado Romero/The New York Times A tablet in the exhibition that shows an installation of numbers in ancient Babylon. Enlarge This Image

Librado Romero/The New York Times A tablet bearing a rough sketch of a square and its diagonals. Or, a better question: if you were a tutor of Babylonian scribes some 4,000 years ago, holding a clay tablet on which this problem was incised with cuneiform indentations — the very tablet that can now be seen with 12 others from that Middle Eastern civilization at theInstitute for the Study of the Ancient World — what could you take for granted, and what would you …………

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/27/arts/design/27tablets.html

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