Contribution Of Indians To The Field Of Mathematics

India has been a cradle of knowledge for many millennia. Indian scientists, mathematicians, astronomers and doctors are often overlooked and not given their due in the world arena, but their contribution to the world of science and mathematics is immense. Here is a list of Indian mathematicians who changed the way Mathematics is perceived throughout the world.

Classical Geniuses

He is the most-celebrated mathematician of the Classical era.

He calculated the value of pi correctly to the first five crucial places.

In geometry, he gave the formula of triangles and arguably, even what we today know as the Pythagoras theorem.

In algebra, he gave the formula for the calculation of the summation of squares and cubes.

Aryabhatta was also an astronomer per excellence. He is believed to be the first person to calculate the distance between earth and the sun and say that the earth is spherical, and not flat as was believed back then.

 Did you know? India’s first satellite which was launched in 1975 was named Aryabhatta in the master astronomer’s honour.

Brahmagupta was the first person to use the symbol for zero. Many scholars attribute the discovery of Zero to him but that remains controversial to this day as critics point out the use of the concept (not symbol) of zero before him.

He also had major contributions to other theorems and formulas in algebra and geometry, such as finding the area of a cyclic quadrilateral, sine table and interpolation formula among others.

He was the most important figure to have studied and made an extensive commentary of the works of Aryabhatta.

He was the first person to write numbers symbolically in position or the positional system. Before him, scholars used to write number either metaphorically ( Moon for one, Eyes for two etc.), or verses.

He also made significant contributions to trigonometry and variable equations.

He is considered the last in the illustrious line of Jain mathematicians.

He wrote extensively on topics ranging from geometry, roots, trigonometry and higher order and intermediate equations.

He was also the first person to assert that a negative number cannot have square roots.

Bhaskara II (1114-1185 AD)He was a 12th century Mathematician who contributed significantly to the field of mathematics and astronomy.

His contributions cover the areas of  cubic, quadratic and quartic indeterminate equations and solution of Pell’s equation among numerous others.

He laid the foundation of Calculus, as we know it today.

He stated the properties of zero and the inverse rule of three.

 Did you know? Bhaskara II calculated the earth’s revolutional time around the sun correctly till 9 decimal points (365.258756484 days).

Modern Greats

Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920 AD)The most well-known Indian mathematician of modern times, he had almost no formal education in higher mathematics and had a hard time earning his daily bread before his work was recognized by prominent English mathematician G.H Hardy.

He has written over 400 original theorems himself.

His most important contributions to mathematics are the Hardy-Ramanujan number, Rogers-Ramanujan identities,  Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan Conjecture, Ramanujan theta function, Ramanujan’s sum, Ramanujan-Soldner constant, Ramanujan’s master theorem and divergent series among others.

He was the first Indian to be honored with a Fellow of the Royal Society, the premier institution of Science in the United Kingdom.

 Did you know? In 2016, a Hollywood film named The Man who knew Infinity was made based on his life.

Satyendra Nath Bose (1894-1974)He a was mathematical physicist who made significant contributions to the field of particle physics.

His collaboration with Albert Einstein gave rise to the Bose-Einstein Statistics and Bose-Einstein Condensate.

The Boson in Higgs-Boson particle is named after him to honour his stellar contribution to the field of quantum mechanics and particle physics.

 Did you know? In what scholars around the world see as a gross oversight, Satyendra Nath Bose was never even considered for a Nobel prize but at least 10 people have won the prestigious award based on studies on his theories.

P.C Mahalanobis (1893-1972)He was primarily a statistician of international repute.

He is the brain behind the creation of a multivariate distance measure, now called the Mahalanobis distance.

He laid the ground map for doing large scale surveys.

 Did you know? Mahalanobis founded the Indian Statistical Institution, which is one of the most reputed institutions in India to this day.

C.R Rao (1920-Present)He is one of the most influential scientists and mathematicians alive today.

His area of specialization and research include Combinatorial design, Statistical genetics, Statistical inference and linear models, Multivariate analysis, Estimation theory, Orthogonal arrays, Functional equations, Biometry and Generalized matrix inverses

 Did you know? He was listed as one of the top ten scientists of all times from India by a national newspaper, The Times of India.

Despite these and many other path-breaking discoveries by Indian mathematicians and scientists over the years, little recognition is meted out to them on the international arena. The trend is, however, changing these days with a renewed interest in Vedic and Classical Indian knowledge by scholars.