Saturday, June 21
Aryabhatt: The famous Indian mathematician & astronomer who was born in 476 A.D, in Kusumapura, now called Patna.
In 499, when he was only 23 years old, Aaryabhatt wrote his Aaryabhattiya, a text covering both astronomy and mathematics. With regard to the former, the text is notable for its for its awareness of the relativity of motion.
This awareness led to the astonishing suggestion that it is the Earth that rotates around the Sun.
The Aryabhattiya is a summary of all of maths known at the time in India.
A lot of the Aryabhattiya was to do with the maths of astronomy, because astronomy was the subject that needed the most complicated maths.
It also covered arithmetic, algebra and trigonometry.
It gives formulas for the areas of a triangle and a circle which are correct, but the formulas for the volumes of a sphere and a pyramid are wrong.
Aryabhata also gave an approximation for pi - the ratio of circumference of a circle to its diameter - which he calculated to be 3.1416.
In addition, Aaryabhat.a "invented a unique method of recording numbers which required perfect understanding of zero and the place-value system." (Ifrah 2000:419)
Given the astounding range of advanced mathematical concepts and techniques covered in this fifth century text, it should be of no surprise that it became extremely well known in India, judging by the large numbers of commentaries written upon it.
It was studied by the Arabs in the eighth century following their conquest of Sind, and translated into Arabic, whence it influenced the development of both Arabic and European mathematical traditions.
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