[Marxism] Indian math before Newton

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Wed Aug 15 10:44:05 MDT 2007

i don't know anything about this online magazine, but here is an 
interesting article about the development of infinite series in 
mathematics, in India well before Newton:


here is a web page on the guy doing the research:


and a snippet from the article, below.


A little known school of scholars in southwest India discovered one of 
the founding principles of modern mathematics hundreds of years before 
Newton – according to new research.

Dr George Gheverghese Joseph from The University of Manchester says the 
‘Kerala School’ identified the ‘infinite series ’- one of the basic 
components of calculus - in about 1350.


And there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Indians passed on 
their discoveries to mathematically knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries 
who visited India during the fifteenth century.


He said: “The beginnings of modern maths is usually seen as a European 
achievement but the discoveries in medieval India between the fourteenth 
and sixteenth centuries have been ignored or forgotten.

“The brilliance of Newton’s work at the end of the seventeenth century 
stands undiminished – especially when it came to the algorithms of calculus.

“But other names from the Kerala School, notably Madhava and Nilakantha, 
should stand shoulder to shoulder with him as they discovered the other 
great component of calculus- infinite series.

“There were many reasons why the contribution of the Kerala school has 
not been acknowledged - a prime reason is neglect of scientific ideas 
emanating from the Non-European world - a legacy of European colonialism 
and beyond.

“But there is also little knowledge of the medieval form of the local 
language of Kerala, Malayalam, in which some of most seminal texts, such 
as the Yuktibhasa, from much of the documentation of this remarkable 
mathematics is written.

He added: “For some unfathomable reasons, the standard of evidence 
required to claim transmission of knowledge from East to West is greater 
than the standard of evidence required to knowledge from West to East.


More information about the Marxism mailing list