Aryabhatta, The Indian Mathematician


Aryabhatta (476-550 AD) was born in Patliputra in Magadha, modern Patna in Bihar. Many believe that he was born in southern India especially Kerala and lived in Magadha at the time Gupta rulers; time is known as the golden age of India. There is no evidence that he was born outside Patliputra and traveled to Magadha, the center of education and learning program where he even set up a training center. His first name “Arya” is hardly the south Indian name while “Bhatt” (or Bhatta) is a typical north Indian name even found today especially among “Bania” (or trader) community.

What this origin it is not possible to argue that he lived in Patliputra where he wrote his famous thesis on “Aryabhatta-Siddhanta” but more famously as “Aryabhatiya”, the only work to have survived. It contains mathematical and astronomical theories that have been revealed to be quite right in modern mathematics. For example, he wrote that if 4 is added to 100 and then multiplied by 8 then add the 62,000 divided by 20,000 the answer will be equal to the circumference of a circle diameter twenty thousand. This calculates to 3.1416 near real Pi (3.14159). But his greatest contribution has to be zero. Other works of his are algebraic numbers, trigonometry, quadratic equations and the sine table.

He already knew that the earth rotates on its axis, the earth moves round the sun and the moon revolves round the earth. He talks about the positions of the planets in relation to its movement around the sun. He refers to the light of the planets and the moon and the reflection from the sun. He goes so far to explain the eclipse of the moon and sun, day and night, the contours of the earth length of identical 365 days.

he even calculate the Earth’s circumference as 24 835 miles, which is close to modern calculation 24900 miles.

This remarkable man was a genius and continues to baffle many mathematicians today. His work was then later adopted by the Greeks and the Arabs.