(circa 1114 – 1185)

No roll call of world’s great mathematicians would be complete without the inclusion of Bhaskaracharya. Often referred to as Bhaskara II, so as to distinguish him from an older mathematician with the same name (i.e.: Bhaskara I), he is among the greatest mathematicians of the Middle Ages. Although he worked primarily on geometry, trigonometry, algebra, arithmetic and astronomy, he did explore various aspects of engineering. Some of his works were so advanced that Europeans did not encounter them until Leonhard Euler unmasked them in the 18th century (which was about 600 years later). He applied spherical trigonometry to various problems of astronomy, and went ahead to document the planetary motions which subsequent researchers improved upon. Bhaskaracharya employed cyclic algorithms (known as Chakravala method) in solving Indeterminate Quadratic Equations, (including what Europeans now call Pell’s Equation). And his approach was deemed topnotch until the advent of Joseph-Louis Lagrange’s. He introduced the preliminary concept of Mathematical Analysis; and is also credited with fostering Calculus (several centuries before Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz). Among his many publications are: the Siddhanta Shiromani (which dealt with Trigonometry, Spherical Trig, and Calculus), the Bijaganita (which centered on Algebra), and the Leelavati (which covered Geometric and Arithmetic problems). These works not only attest to his skills and proficiencies, but consolidate the fact that Asians discovered them long before Europeans did. In 1981, India launched the Bhaskara II satellite, (which was a low orbit Earth Observation Satellite used for providing ocean and land surface data), named in his honor.


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