Calculus (was Re: Gymnosophists etc.)

kichenas at kichenas at
Tue May 7 22:33:21 UTC 1996

This is just a short note on this issue. With Lance Cousins and Vidyanath
Rao, one can certainly agree that Newton and Leibniz did not `live in a
vacuum'. The Newton-Leibniz controversy has given rise to a very
considerable literature. But no one doubts that they had access to a common
background---which is one of the reasons *why* there was a controversy... 

What is however of interest to indology is that some results which we
would associate with the infinitesimal calculus were known in India around
1550 at least. The best known case is probably the so-called Gregory's
series, which is more and more often called nowadays the Madhava-Gregory

Until we understand better the nature and context of Indian mathematics in 
this period, it seems of course difficult to address the question of the
extent of the influence of these results on the West. It seems for
instance that the MalaiyALam version of the texts is difficult to
find in the US.

                                Satyanad Kichenassamy
                                School of Mathematics
                                University of Minnesota
                                127 Vincent Hall
                                206 Church Street, S. E.
                                Minneapolis, MN 55455-0487
                                E-mail: kichenas at

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