Chapter One

 

 

Introduction

1.1 BACKGROUND AND AIMS OF THIS BOOK

The mathematical heritage of the Indian subcontinent has long been recognized as extraordinarily rich. For well over 2500 years, Sanskrit texts have recorded the mathematical interests and achievements of Indian scholars, scientists, priests, and merchants. Hundreds of thousands of manuscripts in India and elsewhere attest to this tradition, and a few of its highlights—decimal place value numerals, the use of negative numbers, solutions to indeterminate equations, power series in the Kerala school—have become standard episodes in the story told by general histories of mathematics. Unfortunately, owing mostly to various difficulties in working with the sources, the broader history ...

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