, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 236-246
Date: 22 Mar 2012

Ancient Indian mathematics — A conspectus

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India has had a long tradition of more than 3000 years of pursuit of Mathematical ideas, starting from the Vedic age. The Sulvasutras (which included Pythagoras theorem before Pythagoras), the Jain works, the base 10 representation (along with the use of 0), names given to powers of 10 up to 1053, the works of medieval mathematicians motivated by astronomical studies, and finally the contributions of the Kerala school that came strikingly close to modern mathematics, represent the various levels of intellectual attainment.

S G Dani is a Distinguished Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. He obtained his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Mumbai. His areas of interest are dynamics and ergodic theory of flows on homogeneous spaces, probability measures on Lie groups and history of mathematics. He has received several awards including the Ramanujan Medal and the TWAS Prize.
This is a slightly modified version of an article by the author published in Ramanujan@125, a special pullout brought out by The Hindu on 26 December 2011.