(476 – 550 AD)
Aryabhata was a child prodigy who excelled in maths and astronomy. Most of what is known about him today emanated from those who read his extinct publications. His masterpiece, titled Aryabhatiya, was published while he was in his early 20s. It is a four-chaptered treatise that houses magnificent works (in both maths and astronomy); and remains his only disquisition known to have survived. In it are geocentric discourses which were the norm during his era, and which were deemed valid for another millennium, before being invalidated and replaced with heliocentrism. However, his insinuation that the earth rotated on its axis daily, is correct. The same goes for his allusion that asterisms and the planets (along with their respective moons) glimmer due to reflected lights from sun. Despite losing most of his publications over the centuries, evidence abound: through references, citations, translations, etc., as to his ingenuities and contributions. His works influenced Asia; and positively impacted the Islamic Golden Age (which spanned from 8th to 13th century). Manuscripts by ancient Indian and Arabian scholars (like Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya II, Al-Khwarizmi and Al-Biruni) referred to his methodologies in astronomy, trigonometry, geometry, arithmetic and algebra. Modern trigonometric functions, such as the “sine” and “cosine”, were derived from terminologies that he originated. In appreciation, numerous concepts and items were dedicated to him. For example: the 22-kilometer-wide lunar impact crater, Aryabhata, is named after him. The same applies to India’s research institute of observational sciences, and to the nation’s inaugural satellite (launched through Kosmos-3M in 1975).
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