Historic Mathematicians of India
India has a very rich culture in the world of Mathematics. India has provided many crucial inventions to the field of Mathematics and some of them were really eye-catching. One such invention was the concept of zero which really revolutionized the world of Mathematics. Yes, India was and is rich with quality mathematicians and in this blog, let’s see some of India’s spectacular mathematicians who provided exceptional services to the world of Mathematics.
When you hear the term “mathematician”, the first name that strikes your mind will be none other than Aryabatha. Aryabhata’s greatest discovery is the one which we are witnessing each and every day. He was the first person to claim that Earth is spherical and it revolves around the sun. He also claimed that there are 365 days in a year. Another crucial invention by Aryabhata is the one which we can commonly see in the subject of Mathematics. Yes, (a+b)2= a2+2ab+b2. At one sight, this may be a small equation, but it is using this equation, even many of the lengthy and important problems in Mathematics are solved. Such is the significance and impact of this equation in Mathematics. Aryabhata also worked on the place value system using letters to signify numbers and stating qualities.
It was Brahmagupta, the great mathematician who made an incredible discovery that turned out to be an impactful one in the history of Mathematics. He introduced zero(0) to the entire world and this discovery was huge as Mathematics was concerned. No need to mention more about the applications of zero not only in Mathematics but also in our everyday lives. Another important discovery by Brahmagupta was the calculation of cubes and cube roots of an integer. Brahmagupta also invented the rules to calculate squares and square roots.
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was a well-known mathematician who gave terrific contributions to the field of statistics. Mahalanobis’s greatest discovery was the Mahalanobis Distance. The Mahalanobis Distance is used to find out how much a point diverges from a distribution, based on measurements in multiple dimensions. The next contribution of Mahalanobis was the design of large scale sample surveys in India. Introducing pilot surveys and advocating sampling methods were prominent among Mahalanobis’ ideas. Mahalanobis also founded the Indian Statistical Institute
Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of the great Mathematical legends India have ever produced. He made many contributions to the field of Mathematics. He made significant contributions in complex analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. The valuable discovery by Ramanujan was the infinite series for pi which forms the basis of many algorithms we use today. He provided a detailed explanation of the mock theta function, a concept in the realm of modularity in mathematics.
D. R. Kaprekar:
Dattatreya Ramchandra Kaprekar was an Indian recreational mathematician who created a great impact in the field of Mathematics. Kaprekar described several classes of natural numbers such as Kaprekar and Harshad. He also discovered the Kaprekar constant, which was named after him. Though not having any formal mathematical education, Kaprekar’s ideas and inventions took the mathematical world by surprise and still he is considered as one of the best mathematicians India has contributed to the world.
Satyendra Nath Bose:
Satyendra Nath Bose is a well-known Indian Mathematician and physicist who also had a great collaboration with Albert Einstein. It was Bose who established modern theoretical Physics in India. Bose gave extraordinary contributions in Quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, quantum statistics, x-ray diffraction, the interaction of the electromagnetic waves with the ionosphere, and description of all forces by single field theory. Bose was also awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 1954, by the government of India.
Narendra Krishna Karmarkar is an Indian Mathematician who developed Karmarkar’s Algorithm. He discovered the interior point method, the first provably polynomial time algorithm for linear programming. The interior point method algorithm is a great milestone in the field of linear programming. Karmarkar is also listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.
Shakuntala Devi was one of the best female mathematicians India has produced. She is popularly known as “the human computer”. The reason behind this was her mindblowing speed and accuracy in mental calculations. She competed against a computer in Dallas, US to calculate the cube root of 188138517 and to everyone’s surprise, she won the competition! Unbelievable, right? But, the next one will astonish you up to the peak. She competed with the world’s fastest computer UNIVAC, to solve the 23rd root of a 201 digit number and dear oh dear, she won that battle too. Phew, that’s amazing, right? Shakunthala Devi’s brilliance lead her to attain a place in the 1982 edition of the guinness book of world records, a much deserving one
Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao is a popular Indian-American mathematician and statistician who is known for his theory of estimation. His contributions to the field of statistics are enormous and many of them are used in bachelors and masters degree all over the world. Two of his top discoveries are “The Rao-Blackwell Theorem” and “The Cramer-Rao Theorem”. Rao acquired 38 honorary doctoral degrees from universities worldwide in 19 countries, terrific, right? He was also awarded the US National Medal of Science in 2002. The American Statistical Association called him “The Living Legend” because his hardwork and sincerity not only boosted the field of statistics but also boosted the fields of Economics, Genetics, Geology, Demography, Biometry, Medicine, and Anthropology. The Times of India listed C.R. Rao as one of the top 10 Indian scientists of all time, another feather in the cap of C.R. Rao.
Bhaskara was a great Indian mathematician and astronomer. It was Bhaskara who discovered that any number divided by zero is infinity and the sum of any number and infinity is also infinity. This finding turned out to be phenomenal as it has a very crucial role in modern mathematics. Bhaskara’s book “Siddhanta Siromani” is also a popular one.
After reading this blog, you might have understood how valuable the contributions of Indian scientists are to the field of Mathematics. But, the above-mentioned are only a few names, there are many other names too. Hemachandra, Narayana Pandita, Raj Chandra Bose, Samarendra Nath Roy, Shreeram Shankar Abhyankar, Anil Kumar Gain- the list goes on. Such is the impact of Indian mathematicians in the world of Mathematics. In a nutshell, it is a fact that without the contributions of Indian mathematicians, many crucial topics we are having in Mathematics today will be surely invisible. So let’s end this blog with a tagline- Indian Mathematicians, the trump cards in the field of Mathematics.
Read more: The History of Calculus