Archive for August 13th, 2007

On whose shoulders did Newton stand on?

August 13, 2007

If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants. — Sir Isaac Newton

Scienceblogs on Kerala School of scholars:

A little known school of scholars in southwest India discovered one of the founding principles of modern mathematics hundreds of years before Newton – according to new research.

Dr George Gheverghese Joseph from The University of Manchester says the ‘Kerala School’ identified the ‘infinite series ’- one of the basic components of calculus – in about 1350.

The discovery is currently – and wrongly – attributed in books to Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz at the end of the seventeenth centuries.

The team from the Universities of Manchester and Exeter reveal the Kerala School also discovered what amounted to the Pi series and used it to calculate Pi correct to 9, 10 and later 17 decimal places.

And there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the fifteenth century.

That knowledge, they argue, may have eventually been passed on to Newton himself.

Take a look!

PS: The part about circumstantial evidence bothers me a bit; but, hey, we are completing sixty years of Indian independence; so, let us celebrate!

Sixty years of Indian independence — VII

August 13, 2007

What better way to understand the people of India than to read some of her anthropologists? Here are some links:

Apart from this, of course there are other of writers, Ram Guha and Amitav Ghosh, for example, who were trained as anthropologists, but write on a wide variety of subjects; similarly, there are writers (like G N Devy, for example), who were not  trained as anthropologists, but whose writings are surely anthropological in their flavour.

Some science-y links!

August 13, 2007

Happy reading!