0476 – Aryabhata – bio

Born in the Assak region of central India around 476, Aryabhata was an Indian mathematician and astronomer who wrote a text in Sanskrit that is known as the Aryabhatiya. It was written in poetic verse and is a compilation of Indian knowledge of astronomy and mathematics at the time. Through this text, Aryabhata became the father of the Hindu-Arabic system of numbering that we still use today.

The section on astronomy covers:

  • a heliocentric model of planetary orbits
  • eliptical planetary orbits
  • a description of planetary bodies shining because of reflected light
  • an estimation of the length of a year (based on solar orbit) as 365 days and 6 hours
  • an accurate estimate of the circumference of the Earth
    (this remained the most accurate estimation for over a thousand years)
  • a belief that the axial rotation of the Earth causes the motion of the stars

The mathematical section covers:

  • arithmetic (using decimal notation)
  • algebra
  • plane trigonometry
  • spherical trigonometry
  • continued fractions
  • quadratic equations
  • power series
  • tables of sines
  • an accurate estimation of the value of pi

This text would be translated into Arabic around 820 by al-Khwarizmi, introducing these advanced techniques into the Arabic world. The works of al-Khwarizmi were in turn later translated and migrated into the Italian Renaissance, bringing the HIndu-Arabic numeral system, algebraic techniques, trigonometry and advanced astronomical calculations forward into modern civilization.

PRECURSOR:
-0575 – Pythagoras
-0325 – Euclid
-0190 – Hipparchus
0085 – Ptolemy

SUBSEQUENT:
0598 – Brahmagupta
0780 – al-Khwarizmi
0973 – al-Biruni
1029 – al-Zarqali
1048 – Omar Khayyam

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