Foreigners
hail Aryabhata as a genius
PRESS
TRUST OF INDIA
http://www.expressindia.com/ie/daily/19981017/29050084.html
MUMBAI,
Oct 16: Two western researchers have hailed the fifth century Indian astronomer
Aryabhata as a genius in his own right and paid tributes to his mathematical
acumen.
James Jacobs Quirinus, an independent researcher in
Athens, Greece and a Swedish scholar Bo Klintberg at the London School of
Economics and Political Science, have communicated through the internet with the
Thanebased Institute of Oriental Study regarding their studies on Aryabhata.
Quirinus, who has created his own Aryabhata web page,
has noted that the ancient astronomer born at Kusumapura (now Patna) in Bihar
was born in 476 AD and came out with his magnum opus Aryabhatiya in verse
form around 499 summarizing his concept of astronomy, spherical trignometry,
arithmetic, algebra and plane trignometry. ``However some of his formulas are
correct, while others are not,'' Quirinus has noted.
Aryabhata is the first known astronomer to have
initiated a continuous counting of solar days, designating each day with a
number, theGreek researcher said adding ``his astronomic ratio, which is to the
best of my knowledge the earliest recorded one, is so incredibly accurate that
it surprises me that this fact has gone unnoticed to this date.''
Citing a 1930 translation of Aryabhatiya by
Sanskrit professor William Eugene Clark of the Harvard University, Quirinus
mentions mind boggling calculations such as 1582 million rotations of the earth
equalling 57.7 million lunar orbits.
Given January one, 2000 astronomic constants and
present day formulas to temporally, adjust the constants, Quirinus has
calculated that Aryabhata's ratio would have been exact in 1604 BC.
``The date AD 500 is the approximate epoch in which
Aryabhata wrote and while the majority of the ratios presented by him are not
equally precise, it is difficult to believe that the earth rotations to lunar
orbits ratio, given such large numbers, could be so precise by coincidence,''
the Greek researcher said.
The concept of the `sine of an angle' appears for
thefirst time in Aryabhata's work and he also compiled tables of half chords or
sine tables, Quirinus said.
Aryabhata also wrote about axial rotation of the earth
being the cause of the apparent motion of the heavens, earth as a sphere
rotating on its axis and eclipses resulting from shadows of the moon and earth,
the researcher said.
``Though Aryabhata was born in Bihar, he inspired
mathematical and astronomical schools of Kerala with Sanskrit then a language
medium unifying the country,'' observes Oriental Institute director Dr V V
Bedekar.
``I am convinced that Indian scientists did a lot of
important astronomical observations and calculations,'' avers Klintberg who is
finishing his master's thesis on `Aryabhata's significant achievements'. He has
authored an essay on Aryabhata for inclusion in his forthcoming `Annotated
bibliography of Indian astronomy and mathematics.'
