Math and Melody in Indian Science – University of Copenhagen

Math and Melody in Indian Science

Guest lecture by Prof. Ramasubramanian

The exact expression for the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle that is denoted by the symbol Π, engaged several brilliant minds across the world for thousands of years, and yet remained elusive.

Madhava, a 14th century astronomer-mathematician from Kerala, for the first time in history of mathematics came up with the exact expression in the form of an infinite series.

Madhava not only gave the infinite series but also couched in the form of a beautiful verse, in arya meter.

While the names of Newton, Gregory and Leibniz are well known, the legendary contributions of Madhava (c. 1340) is hardly known beyond a small group of people in the academia, who have taken serious interest in studying the history of science in India.

What is also not so well known is that the muse of mathematics can also be fused with the beauty of poetry. At least from the time of Aryabhata (499 CE), the Indian mathematicians seem to have mastered the technique of blending mathematics with melodious metrical form.

This talk will highlight some of these interesting aspects of Indian mathematics.

Prof. Ramasubramanian holds a doctorate in Theoretical Physics, a Bachelors in Engineering, and a  Masters in Sanskrit.

Presently he is Professor at IIT Bombay in the Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

For completing a rigorous course in Advaita Vedanta (a 14 semester program) he was honored with the coveted title "Vidvat Pravara" by the Shankaracharya of Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham in the year 2003.

He is one of the authors who prepared detailed Explanatory Notes of the celebrated works of Ganita-yuktibhasha (Rationales in Mathematical Astronomy) and Tantrasangraha which brings out the seminal contributions of the Kerala School of astronomers and mathematicians in the field of Mathematics and Astronomy.

In 2008, he was conferred the prestigious Maharshi Badarayan Vyas Samman by the President of India in recognition of his scholarship as well as the outstanding research work done by him to the process of synergy between modernity and tradition.

For further information please contact: Kenneth Gregory Zysk,