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Aryabhatta

V.K. SUBRAMANIAN

Aryabhatta (476 A.D. - 499 A.D.) was the first astronomer to state that the earth is round and it rotates on its axis



ILLUSTRATION: V.K. SUBRAMANIAN

The achievements of this great Indian scientist of the fifth century A.D. are hardly known or publicised in the western world.

He was the first astronomer to state emphatically that the earth is round and it rotates on its axis.

He is the father of the epicyclic astronomy, for it was he who first detailed the scientific causes of eclipses.

He was the first mathematician to work out the value of .

He delineated sine tables and suggested a method to solve indeterminate equations of the first degree.

Achievement

Aryabhatta'a achievements in algebraic analysis and spherical geometry are also remarkable.

His most important contribution to mathematics is his solution of the indeterminate equation ax - by = c.

This short-lived mathematician was born in 476 A.D. at Kusumapura (present day Patna) in Bihar, India.

At the age of 23 he wrote his most famous work, Aryabhattiyam, in which, among other things, he has dealt with methods of determining square and cube roots and problems involving quadratic equations.

Several disciples flocked to Aryabhatta, who later became famous mathematicians themselves, like Bhaskara, Sankaranarayana, Suryadeva and Nilkantha.

Aryabhatta spoke of his work in these words:

"I delved deep in the astronomical theories, true and false, and rescued the precious sunken jewel of knowledge, by means of the best of my intellect and by the grace of God."

How humble the great mathematician was!

This is an extract from the book The Great Ones by V.K.Subramanian, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi

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