Huxley Lecture 2022 - How Ancient Babylonians predicted the paths of planets

Babylonian tablet
Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 18:00 to 19:00
JHL4, John Hume Building, North Campus

Speaker: Professor Mathieu Ossendrijver, Free University of Berlin

Title:  How Ancient Babylonians predicted the paths of planets


Babylonian astronomical tablets from the last centuries BCE preserve sophisticated computations of planetary and lunar phenomena. The underlying methods can be traced back to mathematical techniques from the Old Babylonian period (ca. 1800 BCE).

In this lecture I will discuss several examples of arithmetical and geometrical computations that shed new light on the mathematical methods of the Babylonian astronomers. I will also present some administrative documents that inform us about the institutional context in which they developed and practiced  these methods. 

Venue: JHL4, - see map reference, number 49, North Campus or online via zoom (

Parking: If you are traveling by car, please note that parking permits are not required after 5pm, see Traffic Management web page for details.