(circa 1340 – 1425)

Madhava was a visionary scholar. His activities encompassed all areas of mathematics and astronomy: as they existed during his time. Having improved upon the works of his predecessors, he provided lasting foundation for his successors by establishing the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics Kerala, India. For centuries, this acclaimed institute remained a world class 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 now refer to as Leibniz series) 250 years before Gottfried von Leibniz was born. After retooling Algebra and Geometry, he proceeded to improve upon Bhaskara II’s works: on what was later considered the forerunner of preliminary calculus. Although none of his original math treatises 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 several 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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment