A Passage to Infinity: Medieval Indian Mathematics from Kerala and Its Impact

A Passage to Infinity: Medieval Indian Mathematics from Kerala and Its Impact

By: George Gheverghese Joseph (author)Hardback

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This book traces the first faltering steps taken in the mathematical theorisation of infinity which marks the emergence of modern mathematics. It analyses the part played by Indian mathematicians through the Kerala conduit, which is an important but neglected part of the history of mathematics. Passage to Infinity: Medieval Indian Mathematics from Kerala and its Impact begins with an examination of the social origins of the Kerala School and proceeds to discuss its mathematical genesis as well as its achievements. It presents the techniques employed by the School to derive the series expansions for sine, cosine, arctan, and so on. By using modern notation but remaining close to the methods in the original sources, it enables the reader with some knowledge of trigonometry and elementary algebra to follow the derivations. While delving into the nature of the socio-economic processes that led to the development of scientific knowledge in pre-modern India, the book also probes the validity or otherwise of the conjecture of the transmission of Kerala mathematics to Europe through the Jesuit channel. The book straddles two domains: science and social sciences. It will appeal to those interested in mathematics, statistics, medieval history, history of science and technology, links between mathematics and culture and the nature of movements of ideas across cultures.

About Author

George Gheverghese Joseph was born in Kerala, India. His family moved to Mombasa in Kenya where he did his schooling. He studied at the University of Leicester, the United Kingdom, and then worked for six years in Kenya before pursuing his postgraduate studies at Manchester, the United Kingdom. He has travelled widely, holding university appointments and giving lectures at various universities around the world. He has appeared on radio and television programmes in India, the United States, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, as well as the United Kingdom. In January 2000, he helped to organise an International Seminar and Colloquium to commemorate the 1500th year of Aryabhata's famous text, Aryabhateeyam; the seminar was held in Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala. In December 2005, he organised an International Workshop at Kovalam which was the culmination of a AHRB-funded Research Project on 'Medieval Kerala Mathematics: The Possibility of Its Transmission to Europe'. In 2008, he gave talks at Loyola University, Chicago, USA and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), reporting on the findings of the AHRB project. He holds joint appointments at the University of Manchester and at the University of Toronto, Canada. He authored the bestseller The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics (1991). His other works include George Joseph: The Life and Times of a Kerala Christian Nationalist (2003), Multicultural Mathematics (1993) and Women at Work: The British Experience (1983).


Introduction The Social Origins of the Kerala School The Mathematical Origins of the Kerala School The Highlights of Kerala Mathematics and Astronomy Indian Trigonometry: From Ancient Beginnings to Nilakantha Squaring the Circle: The Kerala Answer Reaching for the Stars: The Power Series for Sines and Cosines Changing Perspectives on Indian Mathematics Exploring Transmissions: A Case Study of Kerala Mathematics to Europe A Final Assessment Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9788132101680
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 236
  • ID: 9788132101680
  • ISBN10: 8132101685

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