People who dropped out of IIT JEE and made it big

You know what, when they used to say that the earth was flat and then suddenly in the history we find early Greek philosophers like Pythagoras coming up with the idea of earth being round in shape, a sphere to be precise.

But there was an astronomer cum mathematician who actually gave birth to this idea back in the 4th century.

This intelligent man was born in the country of India and is believed to have delivered some of the concepts of mathematics which gave the robust foundation to the modern day’s Physics and Mathematics as well as Astronomy.

This guy was and is better known as ‘Aryabhata’.

Who was Aryabhata?

Aryabhata was a genius human being, a rarest of the rare mind this earth has seen.

Some historians believe that he was born in the southern state of Kerala, whereas, others believe his birthplace to be in Kusumapura , Bihar. There has always been an uncertainty about his birthplace.

However, it is quite certain and has been proved by historical facts that Aryabhata spent most of his life in Kusumapura.

Kusumapura

I was doubtful about the location of Kusumapura but when I googled Kusumapura I got Pataliputra (current day Patna) in the answer.

When I dug more on the Internet, I found that many historians and archeologists also point Kusumapura to be located near Patna in the ancient times.

For his education, Aryabhata went to Nalanda University in the city of Patliputra. He was so good at studies in the university that Budhhagupta (a gupta emperor, died 480 AD) made him the university head.

What was Aryabhata famous for?

Aryabhata’s works in the fields of Mathematics & Astronomy have been unparalleled. In fact, he was the first mathematician who presented the concepts of algebra, trigonometry, sine tables and pi to the world.

His work ‘Arbhatiya’ is the only surviving recorded wisdom and intelligence of this great genius in today’s world. His other works have been either been destroyed or couldn’t be passed down to the younger generations.

Now, imagine that you are in an era where the people around you consider the earth to be flat.

The sailors dread to go farther in the sea as they may fall, tripping over the perpendicularly turning surface, down with the currents of the waterfall, they believe which is somewhere at the horizon.

In that era, there appears a genius who at the age of just 23 writes his first compilation of the revolutionary concepts of Mathematics and Astronomy.

He gives the naive world the concepts of Algebra, Arithmetic, plane and spherical trigonometry along with the sine tables and the concepts of Quadratic equations which we read today.

Astronomical Works

Aryabhata’s work in Astronomy was very much ahead of its time and was totally a killer of misconceptions like ‘earth being flat’ as I told you before. His mention of ‘Gola (The Sphere)’ in ‘Arbhatiya’ is a proof of him being the first person presenting the concept of the earth being round in shape.

He cleared the concepts behind day and night by bringing upfront the revolutionary fact that the earth rotates around its axis.

Earlier astronomers and mathematicians used to predict time as well as various astronomical events through motion of the planets and the sun.

Aryabhata through his superb knowledge and impeccable genius studied the motion of the planets and the sun. He established the truth behind the solar and lunar eclipses, means how they are formed, what’s the reason behind them.

His achievements also include determining the circumference of the earth and other planets with relation to the earth.

We can be proud of ourselves that an Indian who lives in the 5th century determines the circumference of the earth without any tools, advanced technical equipment to be 24835 miles.

If you google the circumference of the earth then you will find the figure to be 24901 miles. Now imagine, how close to the accurate figure was Aryabhata in the 5th century.

Arbhatiyam

In all, there are 123 verses in Aryabhatiya divided across four sections.

If you have a slight interest in the ancient history of India or even the world, then this book is definitely worth a read.

I happen to get my hands on the work of Aryabhata, and it can be available to you as well,

courtesy - university of Chicago, published in 1930

I will share a few of the interesting topics from Aryabhatiya with you, which will make you read it with more interest. For the complete book, you can access the below link.

  • Dasagitika or the 10 Giti Stanzas
  • Divisions of circle; Circumference of the sky & orbits of planets in Yojanas
  • Length of Yojana; Diameters of Earth, Sun,Moon, Meru and Planets; Numbers of years in yuga
  • Table of Sine Differences
  • Ganitapada or Mathematics
  • Square root, Cube root,
  • Names and Values of Classes of numbers increasing by powers of Ten
  • Calculation of Samapatarasas; when two circles intersect
  • Kalakriya or the reckoning of Time
  • Number of Revolutions of Epicycles of Planets; Years of Jupiter.
  • Divisions of Time; Divisions of circles correspond
  • Calculation of true places of Planets from mean places
  • Gola or The Sphere
  • Sun, Nodes of Moon and Planets, and Earth’s shadow move along Ecliptic
  • Distance from Sun at which Moon and planets become visible.
  • Lanka(on equator) 90 degree from poles; Ujjain 22.5 degrees North of Lanka.

Aryabhata’s work was later used as reference by many Greek and Arab mathematicians and astronomers.

We all must have heard about Aryabhata some or the other time, but I bet that not many of us have tried to know more about his life’s works.

There is a dearth of good material on the lives of legends like Aryabhata. When I studied in school, I firmly remember that there was no chapter in our history books as well as science books on the works of Aryabhata.

The only thing which prevails is a comment “he was a great mathematician”, but if we go dive deep into his achievements and the concepts he left for the world, then we will surely encounter his real value.

I hope that this articles has done its job of arousing a little curiosity in your mind to know more about Aryabhata. I hope that after reading this you will surely google Aryabhata, or will search for a video about him on the Youtube.

But before doing that do let me know how this article was?

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