‘Pythagoras Theorem, Irrational numbers and Pascal’s Triangle all Discovered in India’

“Sathpat Brahman, which dates back to at least 900 BC records the theorem of Pythagoras 400 years before Pythagoras. Boudhayan’s Sulabh Sutra also clearly records the theorem of Pythagoras” said Professor Dinesh Singh, renowned mathematician former Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi. He was delivering a lecture titled ‘Indus Valley to Srinivas Ramanujan(A brief history of Indian Mathematics)’ on National Mathematics Day. National Mathematics Day is observed every year on 22 December to mark the birth anniversary of genius Indian mathematician Srinivas Ramanujan. 

Prof Singh elaborated the advancements made by India in Mathematics “All irrational numbers are mentioned in the Shulba Sutras.  Pingal in his 200 BC book ‘Meru Prastha’ mentioned what is known as the Pascal’s Triangle. Jain mathematicians had identified different orders of infinity mathematically not through philosophical speculation. Bhaskaracharya who lived in the 12th century AD 500 years before Newton is also believed by many to have invented the Calculus.”

He explained the scientific prowess of the Indus Valley people and expressed doubt about the established chronology where Indus Valley Civilisation is believed to predate Vedic civilisation he said “If IVC an urban civilisation predated Vedic age then why is it that the Rig Ved is totally devoid of these two words- city and brick. Mohenjo Daro had the great bath, the step well, the stairs are in perfect right angles at least five thousand years ago a pointer to the level of sophistication and knowledge of Mathematics they possessed. It stretched over a region of more than million square kilometres the civilisation used baked clay bricks which were standardised in their shape, size and dimensions over a large area. These bricks were in the ratio of 4 is to 2 is to 1 which I am told by the civil engineers this ratio makes any brick structure very stable. They also had a standardized system of weights in the ratios of 1/6th, 1/4 and so on. These weights were made in regular geometrical shapes cubes, hexagon, cones, cylinders all kinds of weights were used. There are also indications that they understood decimal system no proof it yet as we have not deciphered the script there unit of length for the Indus foot which was just a little more than the present day foot and yard.”

He said that trigonometry also comes from India and the names of sine and cosine were Jya and Kojya, they went from here to the Arabs who gave it to the Greeks.

Prof Singh underlined the need for taking learning outside the classrooms and adopting a more hands on approach to education “Knowledge needs to be practical that is how innovations and inventions can take place practical knowledge practical day to day activities led to the development of geometry and algebra. Einstein is known as someone who gave theories but very few know that he had more than 50 patents to his name he invented the first modern safe refrigerator, first Automatic Camera. Newton was also a skilled craftsman Faraday worked as a book binder hence work with hand and practical skill is essential. CV Raman made all the instruments were used for discovering the Raman Effect himself. Rote learning is not the tradition of India education used to be functional hands on experience sharing education was connected with the problems and challenges of society.”

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