Trivia Thursday: Notable Indian Mathematicians In History

Trivia Thursday: Notable Indian Mathematicians In History

As India celebrated the National Mathematics Day on 22nd December in commemoration of the birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan, in this week’s Trivia Thursday, we will have a look at some of the notable Indian mathematicians.

You can read our story on Srinivasa Ramanujan here.

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at some of the famous Indian mathematicians.

Aryabhata (476–550 CE)
Aryabhata played a very major role in determining the place value system and discovering the zero, which was implicit in his place value system work. He even deduced the approximate value of pi, which he found to be 3.14. He also derived the correct formulas for calculating the areas of triangles and circles.

Brahmagupta (598-668)
His book Brahma-Sphutasiddhanta is the first text that mentions zero as a number and the fact that zero (0) stood for ‘nothing’ in the world of mathematics. He also explained how to find the cube and cube-root of an integer and gave rules facilitating the computation of squares and square roots.

Bhaskara I (600–680)
Bhāskara was the first to write numbers in the Hindu decimal system with a circle for the zero, and who gave a unique and remarkable rational approximation of the sine function in his commentary on Aryabhata’s work. On 7 June 1979, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched Bhaskara I honouring the mathematician.

Sridhara (650-680)
Sridhara was an Indian mathematician, Sanskrit pandit, and philosopher. He was the first person to give a formula for solving quadratic equations.

Halayudha (10th Century)
Halayudha was a 10th-century Indian mathematician. He is the first person who came out with the idea of what is today called Pascal’s triangle, which he called the staircase of mount Meru. He gave a description of it in a commentary on Pingala’s Chandaḥśāstra.

Hemachandra (1088-1173)
His most significant contribution in mathematics was his initial version of the Fibonacci sequence. He was not only a mathematician but also a scholar, polymath, poet who wrote on grammar, philosophy, and contemporary history.

Bhaskara II (1114-1185)
He is most known for his work in calculus and how it is applied to astronomical problems and computations. Not only did he deal with calculus but had vast knowledge over arithmetic, algebra, and the mathematics of planets and spheres.

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (1893-1972)
He was an Indian scientist and statistician. He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute and is considered as the father of modern statistics in India.

Satyendra Nath Bose (1894-1974)
Known for his collaboration with Albert Einstein, Satyendra Nath Bose established modern theoretical physics in India.
Bose sent his mathematical research to Einstein and this led to the discovery of the Bose-Einstein condensate phenomenon. He made significant advances in statistical mechanics and quantum statistics, the description of all forces by single field theory, x-ray diffraction, etc

D. R. Kaprekar (1905-1986)
Dattathreya Ramchandra Kaprekar made contributions towards various topics such as magic squares, recurring decimals, integers with special properties and much more. He described several classes of natural numbers including the Kaprekar, harshad and self numbers and discovered the Kaprekar’s constant.

C. R. Rao (1920)
He is a well-known statistician, famous for his “theory of estimation”. Many of his results, which bear his name, are included in the curriculum of courses in statistics at bachelor’s and master’s level all over the world.

Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013)
Shakuntala Devi was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “Human-Computer“. Her talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. Devi wrote a number of books in her later years, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She wrote the book The World of Homosexuals, which is considered the first study of homosexuality in India.

Narendra Karmarkar (1955)
Karmarkar’s algorithm is an algorithm introduced by Narendra Karmarkar in 1984 for solving linear programming problems. He is also listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.

Neena Gupta (1984)
Neena Gupta solved a math problem called Zariski Cancellation Conjecture which was unsolved for the last 70 years. In 2014, she became a recipient of the prestigious Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Medal for Young Scientists. INSA described her solution as, “one of the best works in algebraic geometry in recent years done anywhere.”

Take a look at our previous Trivia Thursday here: Facts Around British Monarchy

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