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SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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Mathematics is dealt with in special chapters of the works of the early Indian astronomers. In algebra they attained as eminence far exceeding anything ever achieved by the Greeks. The earliest works of scientific Indian astronomy (about 300 A.D.) were four treatises called siddhantas; one is surya siddhanta. The doctrines of such early works were reduced to a more concise and practical form by Aryabhatta (AD 476-520). He is the first great landmark in the history of Indian Mathematics. He maintained the concept of rotation of the earth round its axis and explained the causes of eclipses of the sun and moon. Aryabhatta did give a definite direction to Indian mathematics, but the first methodical presentation of the subject is to be found in the siddhanta, the earliest Hindu treatises on astronomy (and mathematics) without any claim to a scientific approach. Another major work is the Pancha-Siddhantika by the astronomer and mathematician Varahamihira (AD 505-587) which gives a brief conspectus of the five most important astronomical works of his time. He also wrote an augury and horoscopes.

Among the mathematical terms adopted from Greek were Kendra or centre; trikona or triangle and kona or angle. To this period also belongs one of the most significant of human inventions, the zero.

Brahmagupta (598-600)'s work, the Brahma-Siddhanta, is also a famous work. In Brahmagupta's wake the following Indian mathematicians and astronomers also distinguished themselves in sundry way: Lalla (c. AD 748) wrote a slender treatise on mathematical theory; Mahavira (c. AD 850) wrote an elementary work on mathematics, and in another later work discussed quadratic equations; Manjula (c. 932) and Shridhara (c. 1028) also made small contributions to the subject.