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Aryabhata – The Indian mathematician

History | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

Who is Aryabhata?

Aryabhata was a great Indian mathematician and astronomer. It is believed that he was born in 476 AD in Patliputra which is now modern Patna in Bihar. It is also believed by some that he was born in Kerala, South of India, however there is no proper evidence of his place of birth.

He is said to have written his famous works the ‘Aryabhata – Siddhanta’ and ‘Aryabhatiya’ in Magadha. It is these works that gives us information about this famous Indian born scientist and mathematician.

What is Aryabhata’s contribution to mathematics and astronomy?

Aryabhata studied at the ancient University of Nalanda, now a UNESCO site, in Bihar. One of his major works is ‘Aryabhatiya’ written in 499 AD, which covers astronomical and mathematical theories. It includes topics like arithmetic, trigonometry, algebra, tables of sines and fractions and is written in verse form and consists of 108 verses divided into four chapters.

Aryabhata authored three astronomical texts and was the first to find the radius of the earth with 1% error and also find the volume of the earth along with ancient Greeks and Romans. ‘Aryabhatiya’ was translated into Latin in the 13th century.

Aryabhata’s work has been translated and adopted by the Greeks and Arabs.

What did Aryabhata discover?

  • The Place Value System
  • Concept of Zero, which was his biggest contribution in the field of mathematics.
  • He discovered that earth rotates on its axis, contrary to the belief in the olden days that it was the sky that moved while earth remained still.
  • He mentioned about the elliptical movement of the planets rather than the earlier belief of circular movement of planets.
  • Solar and lunar eclipses.
  • He discovered that the moon shines because of the reflection of the sun.

4 Interesting facts about Aryabhata

  1. The Hindu Calendar that is used today was based on Aryabhata’s calculations and is followed for the fixing of the ‘Panchangam’.
  2. India’s first satellite and the lunar crater, ‘Aryabhata’ were named after him.
  3. The Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences near Nainital, in the North of India, set up for research in astrophysics, astronomy and atmospheric sciences, has been named after him.
  4. He is considered as the greatest genius of all times and his contributions in the field of mathematics and astronomy are used world over to this day.
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