Have you ever wondered why we have 24 hours in a day when the rest of our math is based on the decimal system – base 10. Where did the 24 come from?
One of my passions is history. It turns out that the Sumerians used base 12, not base 10. Each finger has three segments for a total of twelve segments on each hand. It’s even convenient to touch the thumb to each segment for counting. Combine both hands and you have a two-digit hand-based abacus. The Sumerians also believed that twelve was a special number – it can be divided by 2, 3, 4, or 6, while 10 can only be evenly divided by 2 and 5. So they divided the day into twelve segments – each being two modern hours long.
The 60 minutes to an hour and 60 seconds to a minute come from the Babylonians who used a base 60 mathematical system. Finally, the Egyptians split the 12 segment day into 24 segments and standardized the hours.
Base 12 - In mathematics, the base of the number system is how my values in the digit place before you move over to the next digit place. We use a base 10 number system which means that we can count 10 value in the one's place before we move the tens' place. We count 0 to 9 and then adding one moves over to the tens's place and it become 10. Basically the base determines the value of the tens digit.
If you use a base 8 number system, then you can only count from 0 to 7 before you have to move over to the tens (or 8ths) place. 10 in base 8 means that you have 1 in the 8th column and 0 in the 1's column. 10 base 8 is the same as * in base 10. 20 in base 8 is the same is 16 in base 10.
A in base 12 would mean the same value as 10 in base 10. B in base 12 would mean the same thing as 11 in base 10. and 10 in base 12 means you have one complete set of 12 so you move over tot he next digit place and put a 1 there making it 10 base 12.