Author Topic: U.S. math professor stumbles on ancient Babylonian trick to solve quadratics  (Read 14488 times)

Joe Carillo

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A math professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Dr. Po-Shen Loh, has stumbled on a technique—a “trick,” we might say—that the ancient Babylonians used to simplify the solving of quadratic equations. These equations, of the form y = ax2 + bx + c that used to stump many of us in algebra, make it possible to precisely determine such wide-ranging puzzlers as the trajectories of moving objects and the maximization of profit (which, of course, is a key consideration for anyone who wants to succeed in business).

Dr. Loh wanted to find out that the technique from thousands of years ago can be imported into the teaching of all math students, so he decided to share it as widely as possible. He posted a paper online describing the method, and a Queens, New York, math teacher among several others who tested it in algebra class was surprised that most of his students were able to do it on their own.

So, even if you have a declared aversion to math, it just may pay off beautifully for you to take a little peek at how the ancient Babylonians did that “trick.”

Read “U.S. math professor stumbles on ancient Babylonian trick to simplify solving quadratic equations" in the February 5, 2020 issue of The New York Times now!

“Cordial invitation to discover the hidden majesty of mathematics”
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 09:23:38 AM by Joe Carillo »