Open Access Articles- Top Results for Mah%C4%81v%C4%ABra (mathematician)

Mahāvīra (mathematician)

Mahāvīra (or Mahaviracharya, "Mahavira the Teacher") was a 9th-century Jain mathematician from Mysore, India.[1][2][3] He was the author of Gaṇitasārasan̄graha (or Ganita Sara Samgraha, c. 850), which revised the Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta.[1] He was patronised by the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha.[4] He separated astrology from mathematics. It is the earliest Indian text entirely devoted to mathematics.[5] He expounded on the same subjects on which Aryabhata and Brahmagupta contended, but he expressed them more clearly. His work is a highly syncopated approach to algebra and the emphasis in much of his text is on developing the techniques necessary to solve algebraic problems.[6] He is highly respected among Indian mathematicians, because of his establishment of terminology for concepts such as equilateral, and isosceles triangle; rhombus; circle and semicircle.[7] Mahāvīra's eminence spread in all South India and his books proved inspirational to other mathematicians in Southern India.[8] It was translated into Telugu language by Pavuluri Mallana as Saar Sangraha Ganitam.[9]

He discovered algebraic identities like a3=a(a+b)(a-b) +b2(a-b) + b3.[3] He also found out the formula for nCr as [n(n-1)(n-2)...(n-r+1)]/r(r-1)(r-2)...2*1.[10] He devised formula which approximated area and perimeters of ellipses and found methods to calculate the square of a number and cube roots of a number.[11] He asserted that the square root of a negative number did not exist.[12]

Rules for decomposing fractions

Mahāvīra's Gaṇita-sāra-saṅgraha gave systematic rules for expressing a fraction as the sum of unit fractions.[13] This follows the use of unit fractions in Indian mathematics in the Vedic period, and the Śulba Sūtras' giving an approximation of √2 equivalent to <math>1 + \tfrac13 + \tfrac1{3\cdot4} - \tfrac1{3\cdot4\cdot34}</math>.[13]

In the Gaṇita-sāra-saṅgraha (GSS), the second section of the chapter on arithmetic is named kalā-savarṇa-vyavahāra (lit. "the operation of the reduction of fractions"). In this, the bhāgajāti section (verses 55–98) gives rules for the following:[13]

  • To express 1 as the sum of n unit fractions (GSS kalāsavarṇa 75, examples in 76):[13]
rūpāṃśakarāśīnāṃ rūpādyās triguṇitā harāḥ kramaśaḥ /

dvidvitryaṃśābhyastāv ādimacaramau phale rūpe //

When the result is one, the denominators of the quantities having one as numerators are [the numbers] beginning with one and multiplied by three, in order. The first and the last are multiplied by two and two-thirds [respectively].
<math> 1 = \frac1{1 \cdot 2} + \frac1{3} + \frac1{3^2} + \dots + \frac1{3^{n-2}} + \frac1{\frac23 \cdot 3^{n-1}} </math>
  • To express 1 as the sum of an odd number of unit fractions (GSS kalāsavarṇa 77):[13]
<math>1 = \frac1{2\cdot 3 \cdot 1/2} + \frac1{3 \cdot 4 \cdot 1/2} + \dots + \frac1{(2n-1) \cdot 2n \cdot 1/2} + \frac1{2n \cdot 1/2} </math>
  • To express a unit fraction <math>1/q</math> as the sum of n other fractions with given numerators <math>a_1, a_2, \dots, a_n</math> (GSS kalāsavarṇa 78, examples in 79):
<math>\frac1q = \frac{a_1}{q(q+a_1)} + \frac{a_2}{(q+a_1)(q+a_1+a_2)} + \dots + \frac{a_{n-1}}{q+a_1+\dots+a_{n-2})(q+a_1+\dots+a_{n-1})} + \frac{a_n}{a_n(q+a_1+\dots+a_{n-1})}</math>
  • To express any fraction <math>p/q</math> as a sum of unit fractions (GSS kalāsavarṇa 80, examples in 81):[13]
Choose an integer i such that <math>\tfrac{q+i}{p}</math> is an integer r, then write
<math> \frac{p}{q} = \frac{1}{r} + \frac{i}{r \cdot q} </math>
and repeat the process for the second term, recursively. (Note that if i is always chosen to be the smallest such integer, this is identical to the greedy algorithm for Egyptian fractions.)
  • To express a unit fraction as the sum of two other unit fractions (GSS kalāsavarṇa 85, example in 86):[13]
<math>\frac1{n} = \frac1{p\cdot n} + \frac1{\frac{p\cdot n}{n-1}}</math> where <math>p</math> is to be chosen such that <math>\frac{p\cdot n}{n-1}</math> is an integer (for which <math>p</math> must be a multiple of <math>n-1</math>).
<math>\frac1{a\cdot b} = \frac1{a(a+b)} + \frac1{b(a+b)}</math>
  • To express a fraction <math>p/q</math> as the sum of two other fractions with given numerators <math>a</math> and <math>b</math> (GSS kalāsavarṇa 87, example in 88):[13]
<math>\frac{p}{q} = \frac{a}{\frac{ai+b}{p}\cdot\frac{q}{i}} + \frac{b}{\frac{ai+b}{p} \cdot \frac{q}{i} \cdot{i}}</math> where <math>i</math> is to be chosen such that <math>p</math> divides <math>ai + b</math>

Some further rules were given in the Gaṇita-kaumudi of Nārāyaṇa in the 14th century.[13]


  1. ^ a b Pingree 1970.
  2. ^ O'Connor & Robertson 2000.
  3. ^ a b Tabak 2009, p. 42.
  4. ^ Puttaswamy 2012, p. 231.
  5. ^ The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the ... by Clifford A. Pickover: page 88
  6. ^ Algebra: Sets, Symbols, and the Language of Thought by John Tabak: p.43
  7. ^ Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India by T. A. Sarasvati Amma: page 122
  8. ^ Hayashi 2013.
  9. ^ Census of the Exact Sciences in Sanskrit by David Pingree: page 388
  10. ^ Tabak 2009, p. 43.
  11. ^ Krebs 2004, p. 132.
  12. ^ Selin 2008, p. 1268.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kusuba 2004, pp. 497–516

See also

List of Indian mathematicians


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