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Babylonian Contributions

Four Main Contributions by Babylonians to Mathematics

There are four main contributions by the Babylonians to mathematics. The first contribution by Babylonians was the concept of the positional notation system using a sexagesimal system. Thus they avoided having to write numbers multiple times; the decimal system shortened it. The second contribution by the Babylonians was computation using tables, which was a great method of abstraction. This gave them greater computational abilities. I.e.) they used tables of reciprocals to find the dividend easier. This allowed them, as another example, to calculate roots to a high degree of accuracy. The third contribution by the Babylonians was their development of practical geometry, as stated by Jeff Suzuki in his book, “A history of Mathematics”. The Babylonians provided clearer definitions of the formulas for areas of such shapes as pentagons, hexagons, etc. They also provided ways to calculate the hypotenuse. The final way the Babylonians contributed to mathematics was through providing advanced algorithms to solve more complicated problems than the Egyptians had solved. This included the ability to solve 3rd/4th degree equations, for example.

Thus, in summary, the four major ways the Babylonians contributed included the positional notation, computation using tables (abstraction), geometry and advanced algorithms.

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