Mahavira (Mathematician)

Mahāvīra (or Mahaviracharya, “Mahavira the Teacher”) was a 9th-century Jain mathematician possibly born in or close to the present day city of Mysore, in southern India. He authored Gaṇitasārasan̄graha (Ganita Sara Sangraha) or the Compendium on the gist of Mathematics in 850 AD. He was patronised by the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha. He separated astrology from mathematics. It is the earliest Indian text entirely devoted to mathematics. 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. 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. Mahāvīra’s eminence spread throughout South India and his books proved inspirational to other mathematicians in Southern India. It was translated into the Telugu language by Pavuluri Mallana as Saara Sangraha Ganitamu.He discovered algebraic identities like a3 = a (a + b) (a − b) + b2 (a − b) + b3. He also found out the formula for nCr as [n (n − 1) (n − 2) … (n − r + 1)] / [r (r − 1) (r − 2) … 2 * 1]. He devised a formula which approximated the area and perimeters of ellipses and found methods to calculate the square of a number and cube roots of a number. He asserted that the square root of a negative number does not exist.

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