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Foreigners hail Aryabhata as a genius

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 Thane-based 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.'  



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