5 Mathematical Inventions in Ancient India that Changed the World
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5 Mathematical Inventions in Ancient India that Changed the World

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 19 June 2018, 11:01 Hrs
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5 Mathematical Inventions in Ancient India that Changed the World

India is known for its phenomenal cultures and rich history. The country has a vast collection of wealth that has been recorded historically over time. Ancient India was particularly a breeding ground for many scholars in science, astrology and mathematics. Of the many contributions that India has made to the world, some of the most notable are in the area of mathematics. India has a rich history of contribution to mathematical methods that are applied even in the modern day. There are many significant mathematical inventions in ancient India, but the following are some of those that changed the world.

1. Fundamentals of calculus

India is mainly known as one of the first places to discover and use zero and negative numbers in mathematical calculations. It is thus no wonder that famous Indian mathematicians were advancing in calculus many hundred years before their counterparts in other parts of the world. Bhaskara has particularly provided many solutions to various algebraic equations and his methods were studied for a long time. The use of the zero symbol was the start of a long tradition of functional mathematics in both science and other general areas.

2. Rules for negative numbers

The various methods and practices of negative numbers were also analyzed in depth by Indian scholars. Brahmasputha Siddhanta specifically wrote a great deal of scholarly and personal work that focused on demystifying the concepts of negative numbers many years before his counterparts in the rest of the world. His work has been translated into many languages and adopted as core coursework for a great number of scholars. Brahmasputha specifically demonstrated the rules of subtraction and addition for negative numbers. The rules that he established were later applied or discovered independently by other mathematicians in the west.

The discovery of the number negative numbers definitely has a profound significance even in the modern day. In sectors like finance that rely a lot on numbers, the use of negative numbers is paramount. Stock and forex analysis is particularly reliant on how the market moves back and forth between areas of support and resistance. Negative numbers are thus used to find sufficient discrepancies from where traders from around the world can make revenues.

5 Mathematical Inventions in Ancient India that Changed the World

3. The number zero

Zero, as both a concept and a core unit of measure in the number system, was discovered and adopted in India many years before it was accepted in other parts of the world. The Bakhshali manuscript has recorded instances where zero was used as a concept and only as a placeholder for other numbers. As a number of its own though, zero was later only used in India to record the lack of progress. Available records show that the use of zero brought great efficiency in both conceptual and applied mathematics.

4. The number system

Numbers date back to several millennia ago. There was no standardized number system in the world for many years though. The Vedas was discovered in modern times and these texts show how the Indian subcontinent adopted a standardized form of writing several centuries ago. The Vedas became the precursor of the decimal system as it used to rely a lot on the power of 10. The Brahmi numerals were also used much earlier than the Vedas and the modern numerals are literally an adaptation of the Brahmi.

5. Trigonometry

Trigonometry is widely known to have roots in Ancient Greece. The application and methodology used in Greek, however, was not used for long in its original form. The modern trigonometry and how it is applied seems to have its roots in the work of Aryabhata. This scholar laid the foundations of trigonometry in its various forms either in astronomy or general science. The fundamentals of Aryabhata's work then spread west to the Arab world and later to Europe. The fractional multiples and trigonometric functions used today come from the three forms that Aryabhata developed in his formative years as a scholar.

India has definitely played a huge role in the foundation of modern arithmetic principles. Even though the role of Ancient India in mathematics is not commonly acknowledged, that does not erase the fact that the principles developed by scholars like Aryabhata, Brahmasputha, and Bhaskara among others are commonly used today. Many sectors in the medical, financial, artistic and scholarly fields have continued to rely on many of the inventions of ancient Indian scholars.

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