Plimpton 322

 

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This is a tablet that was made/written around 1800 BC. It was donated to the Columbia University by a philantropist G. A. Plimpton in the 1930s. The tablet was written by an unknown scribe. 

If you look at the tablet above, you will see that it contains three columns. After considering it, it is noticeable that the this table contains part of some kind of list of Pythagorean triples. This means that for all triples the formula

is valid.

Currently there are two prevailing views of the nature of this tablet. One says that the tablet is the oldest surviving scholarly work in number theory, while the other says that the tablet was just like a notebook used to learn and teach the list of Pythagorean triples.
   

See some other Babylonian maths pages on this site:

Babylonian mathematics main page

Babylonian numerals

 

Click on the number man to download a sheet with Babylonian numerals.

 

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