[INDOLOGY] A Lecture by Professor K. Ramasubramanian of IIT Bombay (24 Nov, 2014)

Bill Mak bill.m.mak at gmail.com
Thu Nov 6 10:40:11 UTC 2014

A Lecture by Professor K. Ramasubramanian of ITT Bombay (Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit) will be held as follows:

Title: The Art of Blending Mathematics with Poetry

Date: Monday, 24 November, 2014

Time: 16:30 - 18:00

Venue: Seminar Room 1, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University

The recent advances in the quantum field and string theory, as well as the resurgence of study in the history and philosophy of mathematics across different cultures without the age-old biases, has made us understand today that the ‘muse of mathematics can be wooed in many different ways’. However, it is not so well known that the muse of mathematics can also be so well fused with poetry.

We know of excellent treatises that purely deal only with mathematics or astronomy. We also know of excellent kāvyas that have nothing to do with exact sciences. However, a beautiful amalagamation of the two is not something that be commonly seen notwith- standing the fact that most of the works in Indian astronomy or mathematics have been written in the form of metrical composition. They hardly have any poetic value that is worth mentioning. The art of blending the work on mathematics with a high poetic value is something that is remarkable, and Bhāskarācārya (b. 1114 ce) seems to have been exceedingly successful in fusing the two, as evident from his famous works Līlāvatī, Bījagaṇita and Siddhāntaśiromaṇi.

This year being the 900th anniversary of Bhāskarācārya, in this talk we would like to highlight how Bhāskara in his works makes a beautiful blend of poetry with geometry, arithmetic and algebra. No wonder then, this fine blending has made his works so popular that they are still used in the traditional schools and colleges (pāṭhaśālās) to introduce mathematics.

Professor K. Ramasubramanian holds a doctorate in Theoretical Physics from University of Madras and a Masters in Sanskrit from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. Co-author of Tantrasaṅgraha of Nīlakaṇṭha Somayājī (Springer, 2011) and recipient of number of honorary titles and awards, including the Maharshi Badarayan Vyas Samman award from the President of India (2008) and the R. C. Gupta Endowment Lecture Award from the National Academy of Sciences India (2010). Professor Ramasubramanian was an executive council member of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (2013) and is presently a faculty member at ITT Bombay in the Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit.

Dr. Bill M. Mak
Associate Professor

Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University
Yoshidahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 606-8501
〒606-8501 京都市左京区吉田本町

email: mak at zinbun.kyoto-u.ac.jp

copies of my publications may be found at:

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