Science

The Maya was one of the three ancient civilizations attributed to separately establishing the subject area of mathematics (Karam). The Mayans developed a vigesimal numerical system, meaning it was based on the number 20, most experts believe this is because humans have ten fingers and ten toes (“Maya Arts”). The main reason scholars believe the Maya used a base-20 system was to do calculations for their calendar system (Arellano 3). Mayan mathematicians also developed the radical concept of zero or to have nothing (Karam). The second main mathematical notion established by the Mayans was positional notation or place values, similar to the modern ones, tens, hundreds, etc, but tweaked to relate to the base-20 system (Arellano 3). The Mayans also developed a written counting system. It was organized from the bottom up and each number was represented by a series of dots and bars (see Appendix A) (Arellano 3-4). Zero is believed to have had a more ceremonial and unique value to the Mayan people, as it was represented by a shell

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Petr Beckham, a world renowned engineering professor, has speculated that the Mayans also used and comprehended many properties of pi in their calculations, due to the impeccable