Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aryabhatta could have been Nalanda VC !

Scientists and mathematicians of the country converged in Patna to present papers at a seminar on History of science and technology in India on Saturday and discussed the contributions of ancient Indian scholars. Aryabhatta is considered the first real contributor in science, mathematics
and astronomy in India. His work titled

Aryabhatta is a source of reference for all researchers, said Sabyasachi Chatterjee of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics at the inaugural session.

But to me, his most important contribution would be his approximation of the value of "pi". His extensive calculations and observations enabled him to calculate the value of"pi" accurately to the fourth decimal point! His accuracy despite the limitations in technology during his time, is astonishing, said Chatterjee.

Quoting Bhaskara 1, whose commentary on Aryabhatta is a source of understanding Aryabhatta's work, Chatterjee said, Bhaskara's commentary uses -kulap - which is considered short for  kulapatior vice chancellor - for Aryabhatta.

This might indicate, that he was most probably the vice-chancellor of Nalanda University. It also says that he came to-Kusumapura-, or present day Patna, for his studies, he said. Modern day astrophysics and many other branches of science also owed their origin to Aryabhatta, he added.

Chairman of Bihar School Examination Board Rajmani Prasad Singh, said that analysis of natural events was a common practice in ancient India. Still, superstitions in the name of astrology were ruling the country.

In my opinion, astrology lacks scientific base. Wearing a ring or building your house facing a particular direction does not change anything, he said.

He also said, that there was a reason why Nalanda University was established.  Homes in Nalanda had bright minds. The university was also a reason why Bihar was largely peaceful between the fifth and 12th century. A seat of learning is never attacked, he observed.

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