New research shows that the Ancient Babylonians were using geometrical calculations to track Jupiter across the night sky. Previously, the origins of this technique had been traced to the 14th Century.
The new study is published in Science journal. Its author, Prof Mathieu Ossendrijver, from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, said: “I wasn’t expecting this. It is completely fundamental to physics, and all branches of science use this method.”
It had been thought that complex geometry was first used by scholars in Oxford and Paris in medieval times. They used curves to trace the position and velocity of moving objects. But now scientists believe the Babylonians developed this technique around 350 BC.