• Aryabhatta was a fifth century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and physicist.
  • He was also a pioneer in the field of mathematics.
  • He wrote Aryabhattiya, which is a summary of mathematics of his time. It has four sections. In the first section he describes the method of denoting big decimal numbers by alphabets.
  • In the second section, we find difficult questions from topics of modern day Mathematics such as number theory, geometry, trigonometry and algebra.
  • Aryabhatta and Zero : He showed that zero was not just a numeral but also a symbol and a concept.
  • He found out the exact distance between the earth and the moon.
  • The discovery of zero also opened up a new dimension of negative numerals.
  • The remaining two sections of Aryabhattiya are on astronomy, also called Khagol-shastra, (Khagol was the famous astronomical observatory at Nalanda, where Aryabhatta studied).
  • The need for the development of the science of astronomy was it was required to have accurate calendars, a better understanding of climate and rainfall patterns for timely sowing and choice of crops, fixing the dates of seasons and festivals, navigation, calculation of time and casting of horoscopes for use in astrology.
  • Knowledge of astronomy, particularly knowledge of the tides and the stars, was of great importance in trade, because of the requirement of crossing the oceans and deserts during night time.
  • He disregarded the view that our planet is ‘Achala’ (immovable), and stated his theory that ‘ earth is round and rotates on its own axis’.
  • He explained that the appearance of the sun moving from east to west is false by giving examples. One such example was: When a person travels in a boat, the trees on the shore appear to move in the opposite direction.
  • He also stated that the moon and the planets are shined by reflected sunlight, which was proved later in modern times.
  • He also gave a scientific explanation for solar and lunar eclipse clearing the notion that the eclipse were happening because of Rahhu or Ketu or some other rakshasa (demon).
  • Therefore, India’s first satellite sent into orbit has been named after Aryabhatta.

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