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## Aryabhatta, The Indian Mathematician

Aryabhatta (476-550 AD) was born in Patliputra, Magadha, modern day Patna in Bihar. Many hold that he was born in southern India, particularly Kerala, and lived in Magadha during the Gupta rulers; a time known as the Golden Age of India. There is no evidence that he was born outside Patliputra and traveled to Magadha for his studies, a center of education and learning where he even established a coaching centre. His given name ‘Arya’ is hardly a South Indian name, whereas ‘Bhatt’ (or Bhatta) is a typical North Indian name, found even now specifically among the ‘Bania’ (or trader) community.

Whatever its origin, it cannot be said that he lived in Patliputra, where he wrote his famous treatise ‘Aryabhatta-siddhanta’, but more famously ‘Aryabhatiya’, the only extant work. It contains mathematical and astronomical theories that are quite accurate in modern mathematics. For example, he wrote that if 4 is added to 100, then multiplied by 8, then divided by 62,000, then divided by 20,000, the answer is equal to the circumference of a circle twenty thousand in diameter. It calculates 3.1416, which is close to the actual value of Pi (3.14159). But his biggest bet has to be zero. His other works include algebra, arithmetic, trigonometry, quadratic equations, and the sine table.

He already knew that the earth rotates on its axis, the earth moves around the sun, and the moon revolves around the earth. He talks about the position of the planets in relation to their movement around the sun. He refers to the light of the planets and the moon as reflections from the sun. He goes so far as to explain lunar and solar eclipses, day and night, the contours of the earth, the length of the year in exactly 365 days.

He even calculated the Earth’s circumference to be 24,835 miles, which is close to today’s 24,900 miles.

This remarkable man was a genius and amazes many mathematicians today. His works were later taken over by the Greeks and then by the Arabs.

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