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Aryabhata was an acclaimed mathematician-astronomer.

He was born in Kusumapura


(present day Patna) in Bihar, India. His contribution to mathematics, science and
astronomy is immense, and yet he has not been accorded the recognition in the world
history of science. At the age of 24, he wrote his famed Aryabhatiya. He was aware of
the concept of zero, as well as the use of large numbers up to 1018. He was the first to
calculate the value for pi accurately to the fourth decimal point. He devised the formula
for calculating areas of triangles and circles. He calculated the circumference of the earth
as 62,832 miles, which is an excellent approximation, and suggested that the apparent
rotation of the heavens was due to the axial rotation of the earth on its axis. He was the
first known astronomer to devise a continuous counting of solar days, designating each
day with a number. He asserted that the planets shine due to the reflection of sunlight,
and that the eclipses occur due to the shadows of moon and earth. His observations
discount the flat earth concept, and lay the foundation for the belief that earth and
other planets orbit the sun.
Childhood & Early Life

Aryabhatas birthplace is uncertain, but it may have been in the area known in
ancient texts as Ashmaka, which may have been Maharashtra or Dhaka or in
Kusumapura in present day Patna.

Some archaeological evidence suggests that he came from the present day
Kodungallur, the historical capital city of Thiruvanchikkulam of ancient Kerala this theory is strengthened by the several commentaries on him having come
from Kerala.

He went to Kusumapura for advanced studies and lived there for some time.
Both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, as well as Bhskara I, the 7th Century
mathematician, identify Kusumapura as modern Patna.

Career & Later Life

A verse mentions that Aryabhata was the head of an institution (kulapa) at


Kusumapura. Since, the University of Nalanda was in Pataliputra, and had an
astronomical observatory; it is probable that he was its head too.

Direct details of his work are known only from the Aryabhatiya. His disciple
Bhaskara I calls it Ashmakatantra (or the treatise from the Ashmaka).

The Aryabhatiya is also occasionally referred to as Arya-shatas-aShTa (literally,


Aryabhatas 108), because there are 108 verses in the text. It also has 13
introductory verses, and is divided into four pdas or chapters.

Aryabhatiyas first chapter, Gitikapada, with its large units of time kalpa,
manvantra, and Yuga introduces a different cosmology. The duration of the
planetary revolutions during a mahayuga is given as 4.32 million years.

Ganitapada, the second chapter of Aryabhatiya has 33 verses covering


mensuration (ketra vyvahra), arithmetic and geometric progressions,
gnomon or shadows (shanku-chhAyA), simple, quadratic, simultaneous, and
indeterminate equations.

Aryabhatiyas third chapter Kalakriyapada explains different units of time, a


method for determining the positions of planets for a given day, and a sevenday week with names for the days of week.

The
last
chapter
of
the
Aryabhatiya,
Golapada
describes
Geometric/trigonometric aspects of the celestial sphere, features of the
ecliptic, celestial equator, shape of the earth, cause of day and night, and
zodiacal signs on horizon.

He did not use a symbol for zero; its knowledge was implicit in his place-value
system as a place holder for the powers of ten with null coefficients.

He did not use the Brahmi numerals, and continued the Sanskritic tradition
from Vedic times of using letters of the alphabet to denote numbers,
expressing quantities in a mnemonic form.

He worked on the approximation for pi thus add four to 100, multiply by


eight, and then add 62,000, the circumference of a circle with a diameter of
20,000 can be approached.

It is speculated that Aryabhata used the word sanna (approaching), to mean


that not only is this an approximation, but that the value is incommensurable
or irrational.

In Ganitapada, he gives the area of a triangle as: for a triangle, the result of a
perpendicular with the half-side is the area. He discussed sine by the name
of ardha-jya or half-chord.

Like other ancient Indian mathematicians, he too was interested in finding


integer solutions to Diophantine equations with the form ax + by = c; he
called it the kuaka (meaning breaking into pieces) method.

His contribution to the study of Algebra is immense. In Aryabhatiya, Aryabhata


provided elegant results for the summation of series of squares and cubes
through well tried formulae.

His system of astronomy was called the audayaka system, in which days are
reckoned from uday, dawn at lanka or equator. His later writings, which
apparently proposed the ardha-rAtrikA, or midnight model, are lost.

He correctly believed that the earth rotates about its axis daily, and that the
apparent movement of the stars is a relative motion caused by the rotation of
the earth, challenging the prevailing view.

In Aryabhatiya, he writes that setting and rising of planets is a perception


similar to that of someone in a boat going forward sees an unmoving (object)
going backward.

He correctly asserted that the planets shine due to the reflection of sunlight,
and that the eclipses occur due to the shadows of moon and earth, and not
caused by a demon called Rahu!

He correctly deduced that the orbits of the planets are ellipses; this is another
great discovery not credited to him but to Johannes Kepler (a German
astronomer, born AD 1571).

Major Works

Aryabhatas major work, Aryabhatiya, a compendium of mathematics and


astronomy, was extensively referred to in the Indian mathematical literature,
and has survived to modern times. The Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic,
algebra, and trigonometry.

Personal Life & Legacy

Aryabhatas work was of great influence in the Indian astronomical tradition


and influenced several neighboring cultures through translations. Some of his
works are cited by Al-Khwarizmi, and in the 10th century by Al-Biruni.

The Aryabhata Knowledge University (AKU), Patna, has been established by


the Government of Bihar in his honor for the development and management of
educational infrastructure related to technical, medical, management and
allied professional education.

Indias first satellite Aryabhata is named in his honor.

At the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIOS) near


Nainital, India, research in astronomy, astrophysics and atmospheric sciences
is conducted.

Trivia

Named after the great Indian astronomer of the same name, Indias first
satellites image used to appear on the reverse of Indian 2 rupee banknotes.

Named after the great Indian astronomer is the remnant of a lunar impact
crater located in the eastern Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. Submerged by
lava-flow, now only an arc-shaped ridge remains.

Top 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Aryabhata

Aryabhata is credited to have set up an observatory at the Sun temple in


Taregana, Bihar.

Some sources suggest that Kerala was Aryabhata's main place of life and
activity but others refute this statement.

He served as the head of an institution (kulapa) at Kusumapura and might


have also been the head of the Nalanda university.

Some scholars claim that the Arabic text Al ntf or Al-nanf is a translation of
one of his works.

His most famous text, Aryabhatiya, consists of 108 verses and 13


introductory verses.

Aryabhata did not use the Brahmi numerals; he used letters of the alphabet to
denote numbers.

It is probable that he might have come to the conclusion that 'pi' is irrational.

He discussed the concept of sine in his work by the name of ardha-jya,


which literally means "half-chord".

Calendric calculations devised by Aryabhata are


Panchangam (the Hindu Calendar).

He correctly stated that the earth rotates about its axis daily.

used for fixing the