It’s a Math Math Math World with Divakaran and Shraddha by Radio Azim Premji University

Episode notes

Babylon, as the story goes, is where applied mathematics took baby steps.

“What, really?!” asks Shraddha.

Remember the place value system that makes it easy to represent small and large numbers? That originated in Babylon, according to historical records that show that Babylonians had independently discovered the place value system as early as 2000 BCE to 1900 BCE. That’s more than a millennium before other civilisations.

Another fun fact: The number 60 played a significant role in Babylonian mathematics, says Prof. Divakaran.

To find out why (and more), listen to this episode.

Further Reading:

Ifrah, Georges: The Universal History of Numbers - from prehistory to the invention of the computer, published by John Wiley & Sons. PDF available at Internet Archive:

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mathematicsmathaiyyo shraddhababylonhistorynumbersgeometry