Saturday, April 2, 2016

B for Bhaskaracharya

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


Several hundred years before the astronomer Smart calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit around the sun, an Indian mathematician and astronomer, Bhaskaracharaya had already made that calculation way back in 1150AD!  

Bhaskaracharya was head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain, the leading mathematical centre of ancient India. Born in 1114 AD, Bhaskaracharya wrote his treatise ‘Siddhanta Shiromani’ in 1150 AD when he was just 36 years old. In his book, he accurately calculated the time taken for the earth to orbit the sun to nine decimal places! He wrote that the earth takes 365.258756484 days to orbit the earth!

Modern science tells us that the measurement is 365.2564 days. Isn’t Bhaskaracharaya’s accuracy in that time and age marvelous?

Siddhanta Shiromani written by Bhaskaracharya is a mammoth work containing about 1450 verses dealing in detail with calculations pertaining to everything from Arithmetic to Astronomy. What’s even more astonishing is that his work is written in a fluid poetic language making you wonder how a difficult subject like Mathematics be written thus!

In this ground-breaking book, Bhaskaracharya also wrote about his findings on the decimal system, planetary positions, and about the gravitational force that helps to keep the planets, the sun, and the moon in their respective orbits much before the world could wake up to these deductions. He described the eclipses - lunar and solar, the phases of the moon and many such cosmological and geographical phenomenon with accuracy that baffles the human mind. To think about it, the world was still struggling to accept the fact that the earth was round and not flat, up until the 14th century! 

Bhaskaracharya is deservedly called ‘Ganak-chakra-chudamani’, which means, ‘a gem among all the calculators of astronomical phenomena.’

Believe it or not- That’s Incredible India!

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