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Ancient mathematics has influences from India as well as other parts of the world: Amartya Sen

Nobel laureate and renowned economist Amartya Sen today said while ancient Indian mathematics changed the face of the world of mathematics, it had influences from Babylonians, Greeks, Romans

“The golden age of Indian mathematics, which changed the face of mathematics in the world, was roughly from the fifth to twelfth century, and its beginning was directly inspired by what we Indians were learning from work done in Babylon, Greece and Rome,” Sen said.

Sen made the observation in his speech on the occasion of Infosys Science Foundation Award ceremony in Kolkata, days after Union minister for science and technology, Harsh Vardhan said that mathematical concepts like the Pythagoras theorem and algebra were first invented by Indians, but we had ‘sophisticatedly’ allowed Greeks and Arabs to stake claim to the same.

The minister’s comment during the inauguration of the 102nd edition of the Indian Science Congress last week, elicited mixed reaction from experts, as some criticised it and some backed it.

Sen, however, hailed contribution of Indians and others towards the development of mathematics.

“And just as Indian mathematicians learned something from Babylonians, Greeks and Romans, they also taught some brilliantly new ideas to mathematicians elsewhere in the world,” Sen noted.

He, however, in his speech did not comment on the specific mathematical theories, Harsh Vardhan had mentioned.

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