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Indian Contribution to International Mathematics

December 01, 2011  by: Paulose  Points: 20   Category: Maths    Views: 683

India has been a mathematical power from ancient days. The knowledge of mathematics India has given to the world is commendable. Today, mathematics as the basis of science is gaining momentum in the computer world.


India has been major player in the international arena of mathematics.

Centuries back, even before Galileo's discoveries, Indian mathematician Aryabhatta declared that the earth revolves around the sun and the true causes of lunar and solar eclipses. Brahmagupta, another mathematician who lived on the fourth century, anticipated Newton by declaring the theory of gravitation. As Professor Raghunathan points out, "Indian mathematics attracted international attention even earlier: Syamadas Mukhuopadyaya's paper proving the "Four vertex theorem" for convex curves published in 1919 is a case in point. But this was the first time Indian work was presented formally on a forum outside India. Also, the work Hardy spoke on was research of a higher caliber than work that had emerged from India till then."

1) Ancient mathematical world of India

In the earlier centuries, even before the dawn of Greek and Roman schools of mathematics and philosophy, India was a world leader in mathematics. In the Vedic period, circa 1000 BCE, India embarked on the study of geometry.

2) The concept of zero and numbers

There are evidences to prove that the concept of zero as a number originated in India, centuries before the beginning of the Christian era. The place value system of number also was in use in those times. The Arab scholars, who came to India soon after Baghdad's emerge as a great scholastic center, were taken up with this number system. It facilitated their dealing with large numbers and performing arithmetical calculations very easily. It is they who spread this number system in the west.

3) Aryabhatta's contribution in trigonometry

In the fifth Century AD, Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta made great contributions to the mathematical world through their discoveries in trigonometry and astronomy. Most of their works are yet to be studied.

4) Bhaskara's contribution to algebra

Bhaskara, who lived in the 12th century, dealt with the manipulation of variable quantities rather than numbers and paved way to great works in algebra. Algebra is a great contribution of the ancient Indian mathematicians, developed by the Arab and Persian scholars.

5) Madhava school of Calculus

The two centuries of medieval Indian history, 13th to 16th centuries, witnessed the development of Calculus ideas by Madhava school of Kerala. These theories came up in Europe with Newton and Leibnitz only in the 17th century. After this period, because of the political upheavals in India, there was a setback in the mathematical development in India.

6) Influence of British academies

Political changes in India witnessed the changes in academic side also. Universities were founded and British system of education was introduced in India. Hence India had to embark a new system of mathematics. It was Hardy's address on the impact of Indian mathematics that opened the eyes of the western world. He was the main cause for the ushering of a new level of impact of Indian mathematics by introducing Ramanujan's Number theory in 1930. Today the Indian mathematicians, who are at work in a broad spectrum of mathematical areas, are recognized internationally.

7) Ramanujan's Number Theory

Ramanujan's Number Theory is still continuing to attract many adherents all over the world. Many of his theories are yet to be explained.

The International Congress of Mathematicians was held at Hyderabad during August 19-27, in 2010. This itself is a great recognition of India's contribution to the mathematical world.



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