(circa 1114 – 1185)

No roll call of world’s greatest mathematicians would be complete without the inclusion of Bhaskaracharya. Often referred to as Bhaskara II, in order to distinguish him from a previous mathematician with similar name (i.e.: Bhaskara I), he was among the leading 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 600 years later). He applied spherical trigonometry to various problems of astronomy, and proceeded 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). His approach remained top-notch for more than 600 years: before Joseph-Louis Lagrange’s superseded it. He pioneered the preliminary concept of Calculus, and fostered the so-called Rolle’s Theorem about half-a-millennium before Michel Rolle, Gottfried Leibniz, and Isaac Newton were born. Among his many publications are: the Siddhanta Shiromani (which dealt with Trigonometry and Calculus), the Leelavati (which covered Arithmetic and Geometry), and the Bijaganita (which underscored Algebra). These works not only attest to his precocity, but consolidate the fact that Asians discovered them long before Europeans did. In 1981, his native India dedicated Bhaskara II satellite, (a low orbit Earth Observation Satellite used for gathering ocean and land surface data), to him. Several scientific concepts are also named in his honor.


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