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## Aryabhatta, The Indian Mathematician

Aryabhatta (476-550 AD) was born in Patliputra in Magadha, modern Patna in Bihar. Many are of the opinion that he was born in southern India especially Kerala and lived in Magadha during the Gupta dynasty; a period known as the golden age of India. There is no evidence that he was born outside Patliputra and went to Magadha, the center of education and study of his studies there and established a training center. His first name “Arya” is not a South Indian name while “Bhatt” (or Bhatta) is a common Indian name found even today especially among the “Bania” (or merchant) community.

Whatever the origin, it cannot be denied that he lived in Patliputra where he wrote his famous book “Aryabhatta-siddhanta” but the more popular “Aryabhatiya”, the only work that has survived. It contains mathematical and astronomical ideas that have been revealed to be completely correct in modern mathematics. For example, if 4 is added to 100 and multiplied by 8, then added to 62,000 and divided by 20,000, the answer will be equal to the circumference of twenty thousand. This calculates to 3.1416 which is close to the actual value of Pi (3.14159). But his greatest contribution must be zero. His other works include algebra, arithmetic, trigonometry, quadratic equations and quadratic tables.

He already knew that the earth revolves on its axis, the earth revolves around the sun and the moon revolves around the earth. He is talking about the positions of the planets in relation to their orbits around the sun. He refers to the light of the planets and the moon as light from the sun. He even explains the eclipses of the moon and the sun, day and night, the spheres of the earth, the length of the year exactly as 365 days.

He even calculated the circumference of the earth as 24835 miles which is close to today’s calculation of 24900 miles.

This great man was brilliant and continues to confound many mathematicians today. His works were later adopted by the Greeks and Arabs.

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