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Kolkata: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and the jury members of Infosys Award 2014 at an award distribution ceremony in Kolkata on Jan. 5, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Amartya Sen Praises Ancient India’s Knowledge of Maths Shared with Babylon, Greece, Rome

The greatness of ancient Indian knowledge has been kept alive with Nobel Laureaute and economist Amartya sen too joining the chorus to point out that ancient mathematical models were shared by Indians with Babylon, Greek and Roman scholars.

“The Indian mathematicians learned something from Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. They also passed some brilliant new ideas to mathematicians elsewhere in the world,” Sen said at an event held by Infosys Science Foundation in Kolkata.

According to Sen, the sine in trigonometry, originated in India and went west and found place in the Western civilization through an Iranian scholar, Al-Biruni.

“Al-Biruni, the Iranian mathematician, spent many years in India more than a thousand years ago through the end of the tenth through the early years of the eleventh century,” he said.

Kolkata: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and the jury members of Infosys Award 2014 at an award distribution ceremony in Kolkata on Jan. 5, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and the jury members of Infosys Award 2014 at an award distribution ceremony in Kolkata on Jan. 5, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Sen reminded that Sanskrit is not merely a language in which “many Hindu and Buddhist texts came” but also a language of questioning. The Chinese mathematicians as well as the pioneering Arab mathematicians had knowledge of Sanskrit and learnt many scientific formulae through it, he noted.

Since mathematics is an exchange of ideas, the Indian scholars learned from the outside world and also contributed to various mathematical ideas.

“In the beginning we were directly inspired by what we Indians were learning from the work done in Babylon, Greece and Rome. Indian research was deeply influenced by the knowledge of foreign works on the subject and in turn Indian mathematics influenced the mathematical world,” he said.

It may be noted that the issue of ancient scientific know-how has surfaced again with PM Narendra Modi and Science and Tech minister dr Harshvardhan raising it on the forum of 102 Indian Science Congress in Mumbai recently.

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