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A Look Back In History: Contribution of Indian Mathematicians in the field of Mathematics

The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem

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The Babylonian mathematical tablet Plimpton 322, dated to 1800 BC. Wikimedia
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  • The chronology of Indian mathematicians spans from the Indus Valley Civilization and the Vedas to Modern India
  • Mathematical concepts from India were transmitted to the Middle East, China, and Europe
  • Ancient India was not only the land of sages, saints, and seers but also the land of scholars and scientists

September 13, 2016: Indian mathematicians have made a number of contributions in the field of mathematics that have significantly influenced scientists and mathematicians of the modern era. These include place-value arithmetical notations, the use of the ruler, the concept of zero, and, most importantly, the Arabic-Hindu numerals predominantly used today and likely into the future. But, in the course of time, the names are lost in the pages of History.

India has always been a field for mathematical development from time immemorial. Ancient Indian Architecture like ‘Jantar Mantar’, in Jaipur which is the largest observatories ever built, are the precedent of Indian Mathematic Calculations. There are more examples that show the course of Indian mathematical history and how well versed we were.

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The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, which was long before the European mathematicians.

Craved zero in ancient Gwalior Shiva temple. Wikimedia

Indian Mathematicians are the one who introduced ‘Zero’ and ‘Concept of Infinity’ to the world for the very first time. ‘Decimal System’ is also one of the greatest contributions by Indian mathematicians to the world of mathematics.

‘‘Shunya’’ as we say in Hindi for ‘‘Zero’’ was introduced by the extraordinary mathematicians Brahmagupta who was also known as ‘Ganita Chakra Chudamani’ among his fellow scientists which means ‘‘the Gem of the circle of Mathematicians’’.

Brahmagupta (598–668 AD) was an Native indian math wizzard and uranologist who wrote many essential performs on mathematics and astronomy. Wikimedia
Brahmagupta (598–668 AD). Wikimedia

Brahmagupta wrote many books but he is known for his work in Brahasaputasiddhanta which means ‘Correct Treatise of Brahma’ and includes many mathematical findings and rules of Arithmetics, all written in verse form. He came forth with Geometrical Theories and rules of Trigonometry in his book which are part of today’s mathematical solutions.

Aryabhatta. Wikimedia
Aryabhatta. Wikimedia

When it comes to the contribution of Indian mathematicians the name of Legendary Aryabhatta is always heard of. Aryabhatta is still considered a legendary hero for his incredible work in the field of Algebra, Trigonometry, approximation of pie, Indeterminate equations, Place value system and zero.

Aryabhatta (AD 476–550) was the first in the line of great mathematicians and astronomers to provide a breakthrough in these fields. He is the father of the Hindu-Arabic number system which is of universal relevance today. His most famous works are the Aryabhatiya (AD 499 at age of 23 years) and Arya-Siddhanta.

Ananda Rau is seated on the high stool at the far left along with Ramanujan in the front chair. Wikimedia
Ananda Rau is seated on the high stool at the far left along with Ramanujan in the front chair. Wikimedia

”Where there is a will, there is a way’’ is just the right term for another Great Legend Ramanujan. He was a self-taught mathematician with no specific or formal training in the field of mathematics and made extraordinary contributions, with his phenomenal works like Mathematical Analysis, Number Theory, Infinite Series, and Continued Fractions. His other contributions like Ramanujan’s Master Theorem, Ramanujan Prime, Ramanujan Conjecture makes him India’s one of the greatest mathematical geniuses.

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When he was 16, Ramanujan came across the book “A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by George S. Carr. This book was a collection of 5000 theorems, and it introduced Ramanujan to the world of mathematics. The next year, he had independently developed and investigated the Bernoulli numbers and had calculated Euler’s constant up to 15 decimal places.

Bhaskara (1114 – 1185) (also known as Bhaskara II and Bhaskarachārya. Wikimedia
Bhaskara (1114 – 1185) (also known as Bhaskara II and Bhaskarachārya. Wikimedia

Bhaskara was also one of the greatest mathematicians of medieval India who lived in 12th century, discovered some of the principles of Differential Calculus and showed how to apply it to astronomical computations. Keeping in mind that the earliest Discoveries by Newton or Leibniz that related to differential or integral calculus were in the 1660’s. Bhaskara is well known for his work ”Siddhanta Shiromani’’ meaning ”Crown of Treatises’’ which includes work in Arithmetic, Algebra, Mathematics of the planets and spheres.

There is a famous book ”Science in the Medieval World” written in the 11th century by said al-Andalusi. The chapters show how vastly mathematicians from India have contributed to the world Mathematics.

Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao at ISI Chennai. Wikimedia
Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao at ISI Chennai. Wikimedia

Mathematicians like Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (popularly known as CR Rao) well-known Statistician, famous for Theory of Estimations and Narendra Karmarkar is known for his Karmarkar’s Algorithm. They are still contributing to mathematics at a global level. There is no doubt that the world today is greatly indebted to the contributions made by Indian mathematicians. We can see the glimpse of Indian mathematical approach in our ancient architecture, historical buildings and even in religion.

-by Aakash Mandyal of NewsGram. Twitter @Akashsen6

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  • Manthra koliyer

    Indians have really contributed a lot for the field of Mathematics

  • Antara

    Mathematics has always been a strong suit of the Indians since the ancient times. No wonder the world owes a lot in this field to the Indians.

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    It’s so sad that us Indians only forget sometimes how much our ancestors have contributed to mathematics. We should walk with our head held high because of them

Next Story

Analysis of Ancient Aliens show on History Channel

Sometimes it looks likes the show is phony and fake. Many times it seems that they take a small point and turn it into a mammoth thing assuming that extraterrestrials were behind it.

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Ancient Aliens is one of the most famous shows of the History Channel. Wikimedia Commons
Ancient Aliens is one of the most famous shows of the History Channel. Wikimedia Commons
Dr. Bharti Raizada
A few weeks back, somehow I stumbled upon a show, on History channel, called Ancient Aliens.
After watching a couple of episodes, I think the show is trying to convey the following points:
Are aliens really real ? The show tries to answer the question, Pixabay
Are aliens really real ? The show tries to answer the question, Pixabay
1. Ancient civilizations were not able to do anything and they had no scientific knowledge, they were not able to build megalithic structures. Extraterrestrials came to earth and gave them the knowledge and also built things for them. They taught them science, mathematics, technology etc.
2. They even give the impression that all over the world, the government and high profile people are still in contact with extraterrestrials but all of them are trying to hide it from the public for some unknown reason and they all are able to keep it to themselves.
3. Gods may be extraterrestrial beings. They are very advanced scientifically and have very high tech spaceships and weapons. These beings came many times and at many places on earth. They interacted with different cultures. They want to control humans.
4. ET’s are continuously keeping an eye on humans.
5. They are guiding us on a specific path.
6. They keep coming and going back from this planet Earth. Initially, they came to mine Gold as their own planet was getting depleted of Gold.
7. They have lived with us and maybe living with us now. They also mate with humans. Very brilliant children on earth are the result of mating between aliens and humans.
8. They can wipe us out with weapons or diseases e.g. plagues.
9. Whole earth may be a scientific lab.
10. Aliens are doing some genetic experiment on us. All species of humans were created as an experiment and when the experiment did not go in the right direction, whole species e.g. Neanderthals, hominids etc were wiped out.
11. Time cycle on earth keeps repeating itself. Similar to a clock.
12. Our planet is a hologram. There is knowledge everywhere in the atmosphere. We just need to know how to get it. In very deep meditation probably we can get this knowledge which is in a code form. Many discoveries and inventions were by people who got this knowledge suddenly e.g. Nikola Tesla, Baba Vanga, Ramanujan etc.
13. Different religions/ cultures/civilizations have many common events e.g. great flood, the appearance of God or his messenger, working towards making  Gods or ET’s happy, concept of nine gods or counsel of nine, demigods, and primordial sea etc.
14. Many temples all over the earth still have some secret areas, wealth etc. which are not open to the public. Some of these are guarded by military and are considered very dangerous to go even nearby. Some people who tried to go in these areas fell very sick and died or never came back.
15. UFO is a real phenomenon. Many countries have secret labs where they are studying crashed UFO’s and captured aliens.
Aliens have bases on many planets, including ours. Pixabay
Aliens have bases on many planets, including ours. Pixabay

16. ET’s have bases on many of the planets including ours. They are present on Earth’s poles and other places on earth as well as inside earth. There are many layers inside the earth where vast cities of aliens exist.

17. There are living beings/life in space and on other planets. Some living beings live in extremes of temperatures or extremes of other conditions. There are beings who die if exposed to oxygen, some die in water, some die without water. There are living organisms on meteors, asteroids etc.
18. Shivling’s central pillar like part represents an energy storage equipment or atomic area. Surrounding part of the pillar is for waste materials to come out. Water is offered at the top of the pillar, like in nuclear reactors, to cool it down.
19. Kailash temple in Ajanta and Allora caves was built by ET’s using very high tech equipment which was capable of evaporating all ruble.
Kailash Temple at Ellora Caves is also said to be a creation of ET. Wikimedia Commons
Kailash Temple at Ellora Caves is also said to be a creation of ET. Wikimedia Commons
20. Underneath an Indian temple is an extensive tunnel system going to an underground structure where some beings sit on levitating thorns. Indian Government does not allow anyone to go near it.
21. Below another Indian temple, there is a door made of iron which has no locks. It is closed by mantras and no one dares to open it.
Is it really possible for US to have a military base at the moon? Pixabay
Is it really possible for US to have a military base at the moon? Pixabay
22. They say the US has a military base on the moon and that the moon is artificial and aliens have hollowed it out and have a city inside it.
23. There is a galactic war also.
24. Aliens abduct humans and do experiments on them. There are incidences where they took away the fetus from mother’s womb. Abductees describe these aliens as grey people and they feel paralyzed but are conscious during abduction period. Some abductees come back and some do not. There are instances where the whole village or group of people vanished from the earth.
25. There are giants, like Big Foot, living in woods. They smell like Sulphur, make loud sounds and elope very fast. They are doing some secret work for ET’s or are left here, on planet earth, for wrong or criminal activity on other planets.
Some points, which I don’t understand by watching Ancient Aliens, are…
1. First of all, if the aliens helped us building these mega structures like Machu Pichuu or the temple of Baalbek, then why did they take away the knowledge from us and why are they not helping us or building their own structures presently?
2. If they were so high tech, what happened to all of their creations? Why is everything in ruins now? Why we have to dig to find those structures now?
3. If they are living on other planets, what was the need to come to Earth and build things, is this not extra labor for them. And if they like Earth so much that they help us build things, then why don’t they live here?
4. They say that sometimes aliens give us knowledge and help us build thing but other times they say that aliens want to control us, destroy us and spread diseases like plagues. Is this not contradictory?
5. The makers of the show have themselves not seen any extraterrestrials, so their theories are based purely on imagination and have no scientific proof behind them.
There seems to be no concrete proof of the facts shown in the show to be true. Pixabay
There seems to be no concrete proof of the facts shown in the show to be true. Pixabay

6. They never bring mainstream scientist and archeologist on the show and interview them or ask their opinions, thus making people believe only their own opinion.

7. They keep repeating the same phrases and believe that by saying it repeatedly it will come true.
8. In one of the episodes, they say that deep inside a big structure and that it was very dark and there was no way to use lamps as there was not enough oxygen inside. Another said that he went there and tried to light his lighter but because of very low oxygen levels lighter was not lighting up. He forgot that he was breathing okay in that area of very low oxygen and came back alive with no consequences of low oxygen levels.
Sometimes it looks like their show is phony and fake. Many times it seems that they take a very small point and turn it into a mammoth thing and assume that extraterrestrials were behind that. Maybe they are fabricating some points.
Just to mention that many of Ancient Aliens Theorists do not have a degree in archaeology, history, religion, ancient language etc.
At some other times, it seems that their theory makes sense. As there are no explanations till now of many historical events, structures, knowle