Chennai Mathematical Institute

Silver Jubilee Events

CMI Silver Jubilee Lecture

Kim Plofker, Union College, Schenectady, NY, USA

Algebraic and other approximations of trigonometric functions in 12th-century Sanskrit astronomy

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


This talk discusses some approximation methods in an astronomical handbook by Bhaskara II, whose 900th birth anniversary is celebrated this year. Many of the rules the handbook contains are ingenious and accurate simplifications of trigonometrically exact formulas discussed in the same author's famous treatise Siddhantasiromani. We will examine not only the approximation methods themselves but their implications for the relationships of the technical genres of the handbook and the treatise in the history of Indian mathematical sciences.

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