Tracking Jupiter – Babylonian style

The ancient Babylonians were perhaps even better astronomers and mathematicians than we usually give them credit for – it seems they had a very elegant way to compute the position of Jupiter in the night sky – see here.

There have been quite a few pieces of science/maths news recently which express surprise that our ancestors were more capable than we had imagined. Perhaps the cavemen of long ago were actually survivors of some cataclysm, and on the way ‘down’, rather than on the way ‘up’? Perhaps we’re not so developed after all? Perhaps it’s time for a little humility??


The largest known prime

Here is a good article which explains the significance of prime numbers in our modern world. It also gives a brief overview of the concept of a Mersenne prime. Nice stuff!