We still depend on the positional number notation invented by the ancient Sumerians. But we’ve settled on using a different base. What are the advantages of base 10 over base 60? And what are the advantages of base 60 over base 10? Why did 10 win out, except for certain specialized uses connected with the measurement of space and time? And why those exceptions?

### The Ancient Roots of Modern Mathematics

This blog accompanies the short documentary film "Plimpton 322: The Ancient Roots of Modern Mathematics” and will host a discussion of issues arising from the film. It’s for Professor Laurence Kirby’s students at Baruch College, and anyone else interested.-
### Recent Posts

- Ancient Clay Tablets Recovered from 9/11 Attack Restored and Translated
- Archaeology Makes a Comeback in Iraq
- CNN: An Iraq museum pays smugglers for looted treasures
- Plimpton 322: The Movie
- The triumph of the algorithm?
- Mamoun’s dream
- The looting goes on
- Personality test
- Discovered or invented?
- Volcano threatens Virunga Park
- What are mathematicians for?
- Where are the women?
- Proof?
- Mayan mathematics and universals
- Writing as a technology
- Math = Writing = Accounting?
- “Draw a triangle”
- 10 vs 60
- The Ishango Bone: mathematics or merely decoration?
- The Ancient Roots of Modern Mathematics

### Recent Comments

- Peter L. Griffiths on “Draw a triangle”
- Peter L. Griffiths on “Draw a triangle”
- South Indian Cuisine with Professor Laurence Kirby | CUNYMath Blog on “Draw a triangle”
- Patrick Loftus on The triumph of the algorithm?
- Laurence Kirby on Math = Writing = Accounting?

### Archives

### Categories

### Meta

Base 60 may be more efficient to use when you are trying to tell time. The number sixty have many divisor as opposed to base 10 who has only four divisors. It was easier for the Sumerians to calculate with base 60 because they used astronomy in their mathematics. For an example there are approximately 30 days in a month, 60 minutes in an hour and sixty seconds in a minute. These are all examples of how time and space is related to mathematics. I believe the reason why base 10 is more efficient now because its simpler for us to use. We may have based our math on finger counting.

*Advantages of Base 60 over Base 10 include the fact that it has many factors, and also it was a unification between the systems of measurement, and also it had a relation to astronomy being that there are 365 days (it was easier to deal with 360 and therefore 60 became a simple base to use.)

*Advantages of Base 10 0ver Base 60 include the fact that it makes computations easier and perhaps faster especially for complex math problems. And it for this reason and also the fact that we have ten fingers and therefore may be mentally easier for people to use Base 10 over Base 60.

In addition to the above comments, I think base 10 also has its advantages because in modern times, counting to 60 is a little complicated. Americans like simplicity; for example, when you double 60, it is 120, compared to 20 for base 10. When you multiply base 10 by any number, it is merely adding a zero at the end. However, I do think base 60 has won out in some cases that deal with space. Time is not something we can measure integrally; there are always an infinite series of numbers behind every ticking second. Since it is much more difficult to comprehend, a more complex approach should be taken.

Adventages of base 60 vs 10. Base 60 is use for telling time there are 60 minute in an hour and 60 second in a munite, it is the system of measurment, and it is also used in mathematics. For example, a circle has a degree of 360. Base 60 was use as far back as sumerian time. They used it for astromomy.

Adventages of 10 vs 60. Base 10 makes counting so easy after all we have 10 fingers. It also makes math easy do. Doing mathematics in base 60 can be so complicated.

Are Maimouna’s “advantages of base 60” really advantages? — I think they just say that base 60 is (and has been) used a lot.

Advantages of base 60: 60 has many factors for example, 2,3,4,5…. and 10 has only 2 and 5 so it was easy system especially for trade.Also, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. There are 360 degrees in a circle. There are 60 minutes in a degree, and 60 seconds in one of these minutes.

Advantages of base 10: base 10 has 10 digits because we have ten fingers on our hands which is a primary method. also, decimal (base 10) is large enough to make numbers understandable sized and it is easy to absorb.

What if you had to learn your multiplication tables all the way up to 59 times 59? Most people can manage up to 9 times 9, but how many of us could manage to memorize something like 36 times as much information?

I think if i had to learn how to multiple by heart using Base 60 I would be in trouble. I would make many small mistakes, its much more difficult especially since right off the bat you need to deal with mutliplication with double digits. For example, in Base 10 a simple problem is 5 x 5. Whereas for Base 60 a “simple” problem would be 12 x 29. I for one am happy we chose Base 10 in our culture rather than Base 60.

After being in class and thinking about base 10 versus base 60, the only reason I think base 10 is easier because that is what I have been taught and used since .. I could understand numbers. But maybe cause 10 seem to be more convenient, like our fingers are in a set of 10, it took over as the base we use today. And a Base of 60 is very high in terms of calculations. Multiplying in base 60 seems to be more troublesome than base 10, again only probably due to being familiar with base 10, or because the advance of math in Asia pushed toward using a base of 10, it seemed to be an advance of math so was adapted over the base 60.

Advantages of Base 60 over Base 10: mathematical reason: base 60 has many factors. Historical reason: it was a unification between the systems of measurements( weights and measures), Astronomy reason: there are 365 days, its easier and better to deal with 360 and hence 60 became a simpler base to use.

Advantages of Base 10 0ver Base 60: It’s easier to use our fingers to count and calculate things. It also can help to make computations of very difficult math problems. Also is an advantage to us because we have learn the math using the decimal system and we are use to doing calculations like. I conclude that this is the reason why we can mentally do math calculations in base 10 than base 60.

However, when it comes to time we understand it better when we are talking a bout base 60 minutes, it’s easier.

Once again this is where mathematics is taught better using visual images or drawing images. Having our fingers that total 10 as an image makes it easier and simpler. Each hands equal half of ten, it’s easier to use each hand to understand a complex number using base 10. Therefore the advantages of using base 10 is simple and easier to understand with a visual image.

Base 60 was something that we learned without really understand where it comes from. For example, timing there are 60 minutes and 60 seconds but 24 hours, why not 60 hours? We can’t picture time, so we had to basically learn it. We know that each triangle equals 180 degrees or a circle equals 360 degrees that are easier to calculate using base 60. Base 60 was pretty much connected with the measurement of space and time. Therefore the advantages of 60 is that it’s part of history and we had to learn. We just know it without really understanding but it just make it quicker to calculate since we already learn it.

Base 60 v. Base 10 : why to use base 60?

1. measure the time (60 minutes, 3600 seconds)

2. 360 degrees

3. astronomic – 365 days

4. math reasons – 60 has lots of factors

5. historical reasons – unification of weight and measures.

Base 10 v. Base 60 : why to use base 10?

1. easier to calculate (10 fingers or 10 units)

Before I took the MATH 4320 class and learned that the old Babylonians used base 60 in all the calculations, I have never thought of using the other base but the base 10 which I guess I took for granted when I learned how to count in my childhood. Even though the use of a particular base in mathematics has at some point cultural and social origins, there are some important scientific advantages of using either base 10 or base 60. The most significant advantages of using base 10 are the biological fact than a human being has 10 fingers which every child uses to learn how to count when in first grade in school; unified, simpler, and more understandable calculations , for example, the calculations of common logarithm requires the use of base 10. On the other hand, although sixty may appear to be a large value to have as a base, it does offer some interesting features advantages. Sixty is the smallest number that can be wholly divided by one, two, three, four, five, and six, and it can also be divided by ten, fifteen, twenty, and thirty, which can eliminate one of the big problems with the metric system (like time, units of measure and weight) – the fact that it does not handle common fractions well.

The Babylonians used the sexagesimal (base 60) system that is so functional that today, 4000 years later, we still use it every day — whenever we tell time or refer to degrees of a circle.Sixty is a very good number for a base. There are many factors .However solving problems in base 60 could be tedious .

Base 10 makes computations easier and perhaps faster especially for complex math problems. Base ten is easier with the help of finger counting too.