Decimal System in India

  • Amartya Kumar Dutta
Living reference work entry
The decimal notation is an outstanding innovation both in its sheer brilliance of abstract thought and as a practical invention. In the words of the French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1814 CE):

It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions; and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement the more when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity. (Quoted in (Dantzig, 1930), p. 19)

Due to the simplicity of the decimal notation, children all over the world can now learn basic arithmetic at an early age. This has been a major factor in the...


Decimal Place Indian Numeral Decimal System Decimal Expansion Sanskrit Word 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stat-Math UnitIndian Statistical InstituteKolkataIndia