October 9, 2012 Title: Geometry from Ancient Iraq

Abstract: We will study the tablet, BM (British Museum) #15285, which is an Old Babylonian series of geometry exercises involving lengths and areas of shapes in the plane. Not only do we see shapes like squares and circles, but also "wedges", "barges", and "cow's noses". How and why might the people of ancient Iraq have studied the geometry of these figures? How did they reckon the area of the circle? What can we learn from the physical tablet about how mathematics was written and taught? If time allows, we will also study tablet YBC 6967, which contains an ancient analogue of "completing the square". Come to learn about ancient geometry