Mathematics And The Great Pyramid: Facts And Fictions

1264 words - 5 pages

The Great Pyramid of Gizeh is on top of the list of Wonders of The World. The monument was built for the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu around the year 2600 BC to serve as his tomb and is believed to have been built over a 20 year period. The construction of the Great Pyramid has had far-reaching consequences, from sparking the interest of amateur astronomers to influencing Newton's law of gravitation. The Great Pyramid and its mathematical conundrums has both excited and flummoxed mathematicians for almost as long as the science of math has existed.Historically, the mathematics surrounding the design of the pyramid remained a mystery for many centuries. Bonnie M. Sampsell, in The Egyptian Study Society's The Ostracon suggests that the Egyptians may have used much simpler mathematics than some might think. She describes how the Egyptians use of the seked (a horizontal displacement of one cubit), and likens it to the modern day use of the 'rise and run method', which carpenters use for building staircases. J.P. Lepre, in his book The Egyptian Pyramids: A Comprehensive, Illustrated reference, describes how the pyramids may have been built around a center pole using four circles, hiding the underlying mathematical principles from the 10,000 or so workers that built the pyramid. O. Neubebauer further demystifies the building of the pyramids by explaining in his work On The Orientation of Pyramids, that the Egyptians may simply have used a small pyramidal model and aligned that model according to the position of the shadow over the course of a day.Much of the mathematics evident in the Great Pyramid's structure appears to deal with basic time measurements. The base angle of 52 degrees, might lead even a casual reader to note that there might be a link with the calendar. However, some data that reportedly links the pyramids to the calendar is more obscure. One example is illustrated by the paper Parameter A, and the Egyptian Decans, by Andrew Bourmistroff. He calls parameter A , which is derived from the angles of the lateral side and edge of the pyramid in relation to its base, " The most important new property of any Pyramid. Bourmistroff calculated the value of Parameter A to be 9.879 which approximately equals the number of degrees the sun moves in 10 days ( 9.863 degrees). In an interesting article The British Mile and the British Inch , Tom Bratby writes that "Sir Flider's Petrie confirmed that the great pyramid's base square area was 36525 inches". An interesting note considering that 365.25 is the number of days in a year.The Great Pyramid has influenced the work of some notable scientists including Sir Isaac Newton. In the ground-breaking book Pyramidographia, the 17th century astronomer John Greaves took measurements from the pyramid that would later affect the work of Newton., who was reportedly obsessed with finding the value of the cubit. He believed the definition of a cubit's precise measurement would lead to the value of the "stadium"-- the...

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