(circa 1340 – 1425)

Madhava of Sangamagrama was a visionary scholar. His works encompassed all areas of maths and astronomy: as they existed during his era. Having improved upon the works of his predecessors, he provided lasting foundation for his successors by establishing the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics (in Kerala, India). For centuries, this acclaimed institute remained a world class scientific center which equaled and/or surpassed many great European universities in both maths and astronomy. Madhava was the mastermind behind the remarkable advancement Infinite Series underwent during the 14th century. In the process he expanded Trigonometric Functions. He also discovered the Madhava series (which Europeans call Leibniz series) some 250 years before Gottfried Leibniz was born. After retooling Algebra and Geometry, he proceeded to improve upon Bhaskara II’s works: on what could be termed the forerunner of elementary calculus. Although none of his original math publications survived, references and citations from his successors provided insights into them. And from these, it is fair to conclude that some of the independent discoveries which James Gregory and Colin Maclaurin made (centuries later in Europe) were already known to him. In astronomy, Madhava’s surviving monographs such as Venvaroha and Chandravakyani, dealt with the trajectories of planets alongside their respective satellites (or moons). And through his Kerala School, he was able to exert posthumous influence on generations of scholars. These include top researchers like: Parameshvara Nambudiri and Nilakantha Somayaji. As evidenced by his enormous contributions and influence, Madhava of Sangamagrama ranks among the greatest mathematical astronomers.


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