## Math 323: Fall 2005

## Day 5: OB Problem Texts

### Summary

Presentation and discussion of selected problems and the
relation of those problems to the rest of OB math.

Discussion of type/role of problem texts in OB mathematics.

In almost all cases, an Old Babylonian problem requires finding a
numerical
solution. The procedure texts describe the steps used in the
solution
algorithms. There are some important historical questions to do with
how we interpret these instructions.

We will find it helpful to have a link to the OB
metrology
page.

### Handouts

BM 13901

Old Babylonian Problems

### Additional Reading

J. Hoyrup, 'Changing trends in the
historiography of Mesopotamian mathematics: An insider's view', *History
of Science* 34 (1996) 1-32. SCI Periodicals Q125 .H63.

### Homework

Write up assigned homework problems from the handouts.

Explain what each problem is and the steps of the procedure. Pay
particular
attention to metrology and use of mathematical constants.

Explain the techniques used and how they relate to those used in other
problems.

On to Day 6.

Up to Ancient
and
Classical Mathematics

Last modified: 12 September 2005
Duncan
J.
Melville

Comments to dmelville@stlawu.edu