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Following article on” Aryabhata - Father Of Indian Mathematics ” is part of our series on general awareness:
World renowned name, Aryabhata, is the biggest innovative and intellectual thinker.
Aryabhata was the first great scientist, astronomer and mathematician of ancient India. With his landmark contribution in number world he make India world famous. His greatest achievements include finding a solution for the indeterminate algebraic equation of the first degree and determining the value of Pi correct to four decimal places. He simplified the astronomical information needed for religious rituals.
Aryabhata, was born during a period when Indian civilization reached its intellectual peak. Though Aryabhata's year of birth is clearly mentioned in ‘Aryabhatiya’ and it mentions that he was born in 476 CE. Aryabhata provides no information about his place of birth and it remains a matter of argument amongst the scholars. It is believed that he was born in Patliputra in Magadha, modern Patna in Bihar. Many other disagree with it and consider Kerala as his birth place and he lived in Magadha in the dying years of the Gupta empires, the time which is known as the golden age of India. No authentic information is available about the chronological history of Aryabhatta’s life, such as his parentage, education and other aspects of personal life. It is only from the writings of Bhaskara I, who describes Aryabhata as asmakiya, "one belonging to the asmaka country.
Hindu astronomer, Aryabhata studied in Nalanda University near Kusumaputra, which is now in Patna. He chose teaching as his career in mathematics and astronomy field. He was also called as Kulapati, which means ‘Head of the University’, so it was assumed that Aryabhata was the head of Nalanda University. Aryabhata earned great fame as a teacher of astronomy. He was referred as Acharya (Professor) and Sarva- Siddhanta Guru by Bhaskara I (one of his student).
Aryabhata work is recognized as a masterpiece. His most famous work ‘Aryabhatiya’ that it was composed 3,600 years (499 CE) into the Kali Yuga, when he was 23 years old. The Aryabhatiya presented a number of innovations in mathematics and astronomy in verse form, which were influential for many centuries. Its entire text consists of 108 verses, plus an introductory 13, the whole being divided into four padas or chapters, which are as follows:
Gitikapada: (13 verses): kalpa, manvantra, yuga, which present a cosmology that differs from earlier texts such as Lagadha's Vedanga Jyotisha(ca. 1st c. BC). Also includes the table of sines (jya), given in a single verse. For the planetary revolutions during a mahayuga, the number of 4.32mn years is given.
Ganitapada (33 verses): covering mensuration (kShetra vyAvahAra), arithmetic and geometric progressions, gnomon / shadows (shanku-chhAyA), simple, quadratic, simultaneous, and indeterminate equations (kuTTaka)
Kalakriyapada (25 verses): Different units of time and method of determination of positions of planets for a given day. Calculations concerning the intercalary month (adhikamAsa), kShaya-tithis. Presents a seven-day week, with names for days of week.
Golapada (50 verses): Geometric/trigonometric aspects of the celestial sphere, features of the ecliptic, celestial equator, node, shape of the earth, cause of day and night, rising of zodiacal signs on horizon etc.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam quoted,” Aryabhatta expounded heliocentric theory before Copernicus”
Aryabhata, his first love was astronomy. Devotee of Lord Brahma, Aryabhata, also approached science initially from a religious angle. But his passion was to investigate the truth of nature and understand the theory of creator. The Brahma School of Astronomy was the most ancient school of Hindu astronomy and Aryabhata probably felt drawn to it because the astronomers of Kusumpura where he lived were followers of that school.
Aryabhata was the first astronomer to make an attempt at measuring the earth’s circumference accurately. Aryabhata’s computation of Earth’s perimeter is as 24,835 miles, which was only 0.2% smaller than the actual value of 24,902 miles. He illustrated that the Earth is round and days and nights are caused because the Earth rotates around its axis.
Earlier according to the Hindu Mythology it was believed that solar and lunar eclipses occur because "Rahu" gobbled up the moon and the sun. Aryabhata goes against the prevailing orthodox notions. Aryabhata correctly explains the causes of eclipses of the sun and moon. He states that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight. Aryabhata's system of astronomy was called the audAyaka system. Considered in modern English units of time, Aryabhata calculated the sidereal rotation (the rotation of the earth referenced the fixed stars) as 23 hours 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds where as the modern value is 23:56:4.091. His value for the length of the year at 365 days 6 hours 12 minutes 30 seconds is remarkably close to the true value which is about 365 days 6 hours. In Hinduism, Hindu Punchanga (calendar) is based on his calculations.
The mathematical part of the Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic , algebra , plane trigonometry, and spherical trigonometry. It also contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums-of-power series, and atable of sines.Aryabhatiya was translated into latin in the 13th century. In his old age he wrote ‘Arya -siddhanta’.
India’s great mathematician, Aryabhata stands first in the line of brilliant mathematician of classical Indian mathematics. He gave a new dimension to astronomy, mathematical rules and propositions. One of his most important legacies is his accurate knowledge of the value of Pi.
Pi is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter; this is the same value as the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius. p is approximately equal to 3.14159 in the usual decimal positional notation. Many formulae from mathematics, science, and engineering involve p, which makes it one of the most important mathematical constants.
His contributions in Mathematics field are magnificent and very precious. The place-value system, first seen in the 3rd century Bakhshali Manuscript, was clearly in place in his work. According to French mathematician Georges Ifrah ‘Zero’ was implicit in Aryabhata’s place value system.
Aryabhata has mentioned methods to find out square roots and cube roots. It’s believed that he also formulated tables in math’s, which later called as the "Tables of Sine". He is the first mathematician to use letters of the alphabet to denote unknown quantities His method to find solution for quadratic equations is, ax (sq.) – by (sq.) = c, also recognized world-wide.
In acknowledgement to Aryabhata contributions in Astronomy and Mathematics, India’s first satellite was named "ARYABHATA". It was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975 from Kapustin Yar using a Cosmos-3M launch vehicle. It was built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to conduct experiments in X-ray astronomy, aeronomics, and solar physics.
Bhaskara quoted that, “Aryabhata is the master who, after reaching the furthest shores and plumbing the inmost depths of the sea of ultimate knowledge of mathematics, kinematics and spherics, handed over the three sciences to the learned world."