“the Application of Mathematics in Pre-Columbian Civilizations”

2108 Words Nov 20th, 2008 9 Pages
Since the commencement of human existence, personal qualities such as: the pursuit of knowledge, the desire to expand ones horizons, and the inclination to establish and follow a dream, has significantly impacted society. From the earliest days, right up until the present time, a number of accomplishments have filled the vast expanse of time. Such accomplishments span from exemplary literary works, such as those of Cicero, Virgil, and Goethe; to philosophical breakthroughs of men like Rene Descartes who said, “I think therefore I am”, and finally to the unprecedented discoveries in the fields of mathematics and science. Among all the civilizations of time, those of the Pre-Columbian Era seem to have successfully applied mathematical …show more content…
The Mayan pyramids however, are notably different from other types of pyramids, such as the Egyptian Pyramids. The big difference has to do with stairs that led to the top of the pyramid (see figures 1 and 2) (Schele 160). In a regular triangle, the center of gravity is on its axis of symmetry. Since a square base pyramid (those that the Mayan’s built) obviously involves triangles and a square, then the center of gravity for such pyramids will involve taking into account both types of polygons. Since four of the five polygons are triangles, the Mayans had to first establish a center of gravity for the triangles. It is no secret that for one, the triangles are not standing upright but are at an angle, and second, the weight of the triangle increases as you get closer to the base. Considering that, and yet at the same time avoiding the integration of this application, one can conclude that the center of gravity is not at the point of intersection between the median and base, but rather some distance up from that point. In his book, “Mechanics”, Dan Hartog explains how the center of gravity for the side of a pyramid, would be one third the distance from its base on the axis of symmetry (Hartog 37). Yet the Mayan pyramids had an additional set of stairs, although still symmetrical to all sides, that most pyramids of other civilizations did not include. Although this would alter the

Related Documents