Talk:Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics

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And then what?[edit]

There's not much discussion about the physical aspects of the school. Was it a school in the modern sense of a learning institution? When was it formed? What happened to it? It was named the "Kerala School" long before the conception of the Kerala state? I'm trying to research the history of education within Kerala, and while this is the oldest form of formulized education that I could find before the western missionary schools arrived, this information does not really provide many answers for me. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TwoTones (talkcontribs). at 05:49, 20 June 2006

A school as used here, is a school of thought. You will have to look elsewhere for the history of formalized education in kerala. The name Kerala was used much before the state of Kerala was formed. It was simply the name by which that particular country was known. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs). at 20:04, 3 May 2007

Does any mathemetician know how to clean up?[edit]

I don't want to be too critical of this article because it's a topic I know nothing about. But is there a competent mathemetician who is familiar enough with this topic to know what to make of:

  • Infinite series expansions of functions.
Ok. How? By Taylor series? Fourier series?
  • The power series.
Power series of what?
  • The Taylor series.
Taylor series of what? There are 4 or 5 trigonmetric functions listed below.
  • Trigonometric series.
  • Rational approximations of infinite series.
  • Taylor series of the sine and cosine functions (Madhava-Newton power series).
Ok. Wouldn't that fall above?
  • Taylor series of the tangent function.
  • Second-order Taylor series approximations of the sine and cosine functions.
What's the 2nd order Taylor series? If the "1st order" is just sin(x) ~ x, then the second order would be sin(x) ~ x + x^3/3!.
  • Third-order Taylor series approximation of the sine function.
So that would be sin(x) ~ x + x^3/3! + x^5/5! ?
  • Power series of π (usually attributed to Leibniz).
Which one? π = 4/1 - 4/3 + 4/5 - ...
  • Power series of π/4 (Euler's series).
Which one? Does this mean Leibniz above?
What radius?
What diameter?
What circumference?
  • Power series of angle θ (equivalent to the Gregory series).
??? What does this mean?
Ok. As solutions to quadratics? Cubics?
As solutions to ...
Which transcendental number?
  • Correctly computed the value of π to 11 decimal places, the most accurate value of π after almost a thousand years.
  • Sine tables to 12 decimal places of accuracy and cosine tables to 9 decimal places of accuracy, which would remain the most accurate upto the 17th century.
  • A procedure to determine the positions of the Moon every 36 minutes.
  • Methods to estimate the motions of the planets.
Including the fundamental theorem of calculus? Which rules? Integration of polynomials?
  • Term by term integration.
  • Laying the foundations for the development of calculus, which was then further developed by his successors at the Kerala School.

Thanks! --M a s 01:47, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

If you read Wikipedia with an open mind (may I suggest lobotomy?) you'll find out that Hindu Science is the source of all possible knowledge and the so-called western scientific discoveries are stolen from Hindu Pundits by unscrupulous plagiarizers like Newton and Einstein. There's nothing to clean up. You should memorize the list and sing it to yourself in reverent meditation. 22:50, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

You must be kidding me. If India has done so much in mathematics then why the hell it depends on west for technology. And why not even one scientist from India (practising there) does something for mathematics.

"This is article is killed downright by western mindset which is indoctrinated in the thought that west is best". Why the hell when there is evidence that what Newton or Leibniz has done was already done in India before 300 years, western people find it hard to acknowledge. It is no surprise why some eastern countries want to ban some websites which are totally western biased. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:40, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

  • "If you read Wikipedia...meditation."

Please provide citations.

  • If India has done so much in mathematics then why the hell it depends on west for technology.

Mathematics is not the only technology people need to survive.

  • And why not even one scientist from India (practising there) does something for mathematics.

The article should answer that question (if you have read it), and tell you what contributions have been made. Joshua Issac (talk) 17:27, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

To talk about Indian contributions to mathematics in the past, it is not necessary to prove that somebody is doing it in the way you want right now. First of all current western mathematics is so different from Indian mathematics philosophically. Indians do not need to excel in current western math to prove that they know math. That is just narrow-mindedness. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:46, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Explanation of Warning[edit]

I have placed the warning message on this page, particularly because almost all of this "information " derives from George Gheverghese Joseph's The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics. Is it any surprise that George Joseph himself was born in Kerala? Furthermore, the bibliography of this article is very misleading, because it makes it looks as though scholars have independently verified Joseph's work, yet if you dig deeper you find:

  • Three of the citations refer to Ian G. Pearce, who was an undergraduate (not a professional historian) at university at the time he wrote the articles cited. Those are suitable for an informal college report but not encylopedic nor peer reviewed.
  • The citation referring to D. P. Agrawal in fact refers to a non-peer reviewed opinion piece, not a scholarly work. It should be noted that D. P. Agrawala admits that historians do not agree with George Joseph's work, and Argawal labels them "Eurocentric." (Is Agrawal guilty of the same kind of bias?)
  • The citation associated with Dr. Sarada Rajeev refers to the syllabus of a history class at Canisius College that he is teaching, not information; futhermore, Rajeev's course syllabus on that page indicates the course is regurgitating George Joseph's Crest of the Peacock, not providing independent corroborative archaeological evidence.

Unfortunately, many related Wikipedia pages state the "contributions" of the Kerala school as "fact". All of them need to have a warning put on them that this interpretation is fairly new and not univerally accepted. This is exactly why the Wikipedia: No original research policy was created. 04:01, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

You must be kidding me. If India has done so much in mathematics then why the hell it depends on west for technology. And why not even one scientist from India (practising there) does something for mathematics.

Do you know who got the abel prize for year 2007? Nope. Do you Ramanujan's reputation, what Hardy said about him? Forget all this, do you know that most of the western technology actually got invented by Germany and that too in the time of hitler? Nope, you don't. Western technology developed because of war and because of the wealth that they generated from their loots of a few hundred years. When you have millions of slave and billions of dollars at your disposal you can get a lot done. Now the same question will be asked of westerners 100 years from now, that if they were so advanced in technolgy in 2007 why they look to China and India for it now:-)


I've taken issue with the last bit of the following:

James Gregory, who first stated the infinite series expansion of the arctangent (the Madhava-Gregory series) in Europe, never gave any derivation of his result, or any indication as to how he derived it, suggesting that this series was imported into Europe.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absense. There can be many reasons why Gregory never gave a derivation of his result, the an obvious one being along the lines of the gist of this whole article - that he did have one but it was lost.

If a reputable scholar makes the claim that because Gregory didn't have a derivation, then this SUGGESTS that he got it from Keravala then I would like to see the exact quote, the reputation of the scholar, etc.

Suggesting is a very strong word. First things to reach a compromise I would like to see a more neutral word, or a phrasing that's in-lines with a reputable scholar.

Thanks and regards,--M a s 17:14, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I did not understand the words "absense" or "keravala" and I do not think "suggesting" is too strong a word.Bharatveer 18:26, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Hey alright. I'll ignore that.

I suggest that you please answer: Who suggested? Please place this person's observations as clearly as you can int his article. --M a s 20:55, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Quoting from the article : "Other pieces of circumstantial evidence include:

James Gregory, who first stated the infinite series expansion of the arctangent (the Madhava-Gregory series) in Europe, never gave any derivation of his result, or any indication as to how he derived it, suggesting that this series was imported into Europe."

I think this sentence is pretty clear in that the circumstantial evidences suggests that this series was imported into Europe.I think that is the answer to your question. Anyway,I have added the reference to the sentence.Bharatveer 04:21, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the reference Bharatveer. There's two different Gregory's though- one's a pope in the 16th c and one's a mathemetician in the 17th c. The pope made the changes to the calendar. In my eyes this evidence is pretty obstruse. But thanks for the interesting reference. --M a s 20:08, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I wonder what information could one possibly get from that article beyond the obvious fact that nationalism doesn't need facts for self-glorification? Have you seen any Indian texts on calculus dating from pre-Newtonian era?—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

references for claims made[edit]

This article is extremely biased - the claims are mainly ridiculous, and most either have no factual evidence to support them, or the ideas in question can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks. People should be aware that this is a favourite topic of Hindu nationalists.

all of the claims on this page need specific references to articles in the bibliography, otherwise it becomes very difficult to verify them. secondly, it is important that all of the references used for this article are peer-reviewed and the opinions of other historians on these works is described. i noted in particular that the "passage to infinite procedures" was not a new idea at the time indian mathematicians considered it (it goes at least back to the ancient Greeks), so it would be better if their specific contribution to this area was described. many of the other claims are also not specific enough... like the claims of inventing calculus, for instance. - 21:18, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Indians are coming, my friend. Do not ask for references. Just turn away from Wikipedia. No use to fight. Let them own this increasingly smelly pile of BS. 19:57, 4 September 2006 (UTC)


I think the title for the article is not very apt. Shouldnt it be something like "Kerala School of Mathematics" or some other similar name?-- ॐ Kris 18:56, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It should be renamed. Does anyone know the original Malayalam name of the school? Else, we should go for Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics, IMO.--thunderboltz(Deepu) 07:16, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Melvyn Bragg's programme on BBC Radio 4 today simply used the term 'Kerala Mathematics'; St Andrews, which is usually quite reputable, [], uses 'Keralese Mathematics' and also refers to 'Kerala Mathematics'. Davy p 22:50, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

The name as per Britannica is "The school of Madhava in Kerala". What do people think of this, will proceed to move page if there are no responses for a reasonable time. Trips (talk) 10:45, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Other evidence section[edit]

I removed: "There was some controversy in the late 17th century between Newton and Leibniz, over how they independently 'invented' calculus almost simultaneously, which sometimes leads to the suggestion that they both may have acquired the relevant ideas indirectly from Keralese calculus."

The controversy was primarily concerned about whether Leibniz had access to Newton's work or used it in developing his calculus. The above comment suggests more of a conspiracy theory angle as if the simultaneous development of calculus was a miraculous coincidence, and the phrase "sometimes leads to the suggestion..." probably falls under the "weasel wording" category(or whatever you call it), if it has led to this suggestion then please cite a reputable source that is not oneself.

Discover Magazine and [1] ? Joshua Issac (talk) 11:48, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Mathematics was banned from use in European accounting[edit]

BBC Radio 4's programme by Melvyn Bragg, 'In Our Time', today was entitled 'Kerala Mathematics'. It's available, I think, as MP3 from the BBC website. I missed most or the programme, but noted that Indian numerals and, if I heard correctly some sorts of maths, were banned from use in bookkeeping in parts of Europe until the 19th century; and the concept of zero was treated with great suspicion until comparatively recently. The programme usually brings 3 experts on a subject together, so it should be accepted as reasonably authoritative. Davy p 23:03, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

what? please explain. indian numerals were banned from accounting in the 19th c? zero was treated with great suspicion until when? who says?

BBC Radio 4 Joshua Issac (talk) 17:53, 17 February 2008 (UTC)


Let me commend St Andrews as a non-Indian source which might help to reduce claims of nationalism. Their website seems to be as unimpeachable as any other academic source. [] Davy p 23:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

See Rick Norwood's comment on Talk:Calculus page - "These are certainly interesting references, but they do not lay all the problems to rest. The history of Indian mathematics, for example, is by a grad student, Ian G Pearce, whose specialty is the study of insects. It seems to be very well researched, but to rely almost entirely on secondary sources". I wanted to add a little joke in the sense that soon somebody will say that Indians invented the radio but to my dismay I found that this claim was already made (look up Invention of radio). Not funny anymore 19:39, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
These Hindutva arguments are generally along the lines of: whoever can't understand the great significance of the Indian subcontinent to the history of mathematics are obviously racists and/or neoimperialists. Is this correct?
All of the editors who recognize this article for what it is have one point in common: This kind of bullshit does more harm than good.
I believe you are the same user with who I had a long discourse on Talk:Calculus some time back. Even if you are not, you can scroll down to Talk:Calculus#A_desperate_call_to_our_Indian_friends and see these primary sources you are asking for. The original discoveries are noted in palm leaf manuscripts, not book and paper, so they wouldn't be available to the public. Also, if you indeed are the same person, please don't waste my time again. Those comments speak loads about the person who wrote them.--thunderboltz(Deepu) 04:12, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm the guy up above with the comment about Hindutva. I'm not the same person you had a discussion with earlier, nor to the "A desperate call to our Indian friends." My comment was directed not to anything you had said but to the comments from There are many of us "Westerners" who recognize the many contributions and the lead taken by those on the Indian subcontinent in many areas of science. However, bloated exaggerations and claims of priority with little hard evidence does the damage to the credibility for the incredible and truely unbelievable things that Indian mathemeticians HAVE done. And to throw out accusations of racism or neoimperialism or "stealing" I think is above the cuff, and speaks loads about the persons who wrote them. -- 09:13, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Greeks and Moors[edit]

Much of the mathematics and logic seems to have reached northern Europe by a rather long route, moving east to Persia when the ancient Greece crumbled and then to Spain in part via the Moors. My own knowledge of history is somewhat hazy, but this seems to be an important part of the story. Pythagorus' Theorem, for example, seems to have made its way to Kerala and thence back to Europe. Some coverage of this aspect might be useful, if anyone expert enough can be found. Davy p 23:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Pythagors was ~500BC. Europe never forgot it, but most of the Greek works went to the Arab lands and then back again. -- 09:17, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Docking the Hagiography and Bogus Mathematics[edit]

This article is abysmally written. Not only are the achievements of the Kerala school exaggerated beyond recognition, but what results are given, are described with a lack of precision that would make any mathematician cringe. I initially encountered text from this article in the article on Indian mathematics—which too is poorly written—and was so frustrated by the writing that I was driven to the secondary sources in mathematics journals. I emphasize "mathematics," because the descriptions in the History of Science journals or the nationalistic Indian web sites were (obviously) written by authors whose own grasp of the mathematics (and sometimes of reality) was infirm, as anyone who knows the style of writing mathematics can easily discern.

I am therefore rewriting some of the lead and early sections of this article to at least give a mathematically literate reader a general idea of the achievements of the Kerala school—which were both manifold and remarkable—but without the hype. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 19:36, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Sine series[edit]

I don't know what exactly the original verse said, but the series given here as an expansion for sin x has an undefined r term in it. It appears to be the series for r * sin(x/r). -Chinju 23:17, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Have corrected it. You are right. Thanks. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 09:44, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Reliable sources needed[edit]

I've moved the complete disputed section Possible transmission of Kerala mathematics to Europe here. Apart from mentioning an unspecified paper in the first paper, it is completely without sources.

There are a number of publications, including a recent paper of interest written by D. Almeida, J. John and A. Zadorozhnyy, which suggest Keralan mathematics may have been transmitted to Europe. Kerala was in continuous contact with China, Arabia, and from around 1500, Europe as well, thus transmission would have been possible. There is no direct evidence by way of relevant manuscripts but the evidence of methodological similarities, communication routes and a suitable chronology for transmission is hard to dismiss.
A key development of pre-calculus Europe, that of generalisation on the basis of induction, has deep methodological similarities with the corresponding Kerala development (200 years before). There is further evidence that John Wallis (1665) gave a recurrence relation and proof of the Pythagorean theorem exactly as Bhaskara II did. The only way European scholars at this time could have been aware of the work of Bhaskara would have been through Islamic scholars (see Bhaskara: Influence) or through Kerala 'routes'.
Although it was believed that Kerala calculus remained localised until its discovery by Charles Whish in 1832, Kerala had in fact been in contact with Europe ever since Vasco da Gama first arrived there in 1499 and trade routes were established between Kerala and Europe. Along with European traders, Jesuit missionaries from Europe were also present in Kerala during the 16th century. Many of them were mathematicians and astronomers, and were able to speak local languages such as Malayalam, and were thus able to comprehend Kerala mathematics. Indian mathematical manuscripts may have been brought to Europe by the Jesuit priests and scholars that were present in Kerala.
In particular, it is well-known that Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit mathematician and astronomer who is generally credited with bringing European science and mathematics to China, spent two years in Kochi, Kerala after being ordained in Goa in 1580. During that time he was in correspondence with the Rector of the Collegio Romano, the primary institution for the education of those who wished to become Jesuits. Matteo Ricci wrote back to Petri Maffei stating that he was seeking to learn the methods of timekeeping from "an intelligent Brahman or an honest Moor". The Jesuits at the time were very knowledgeable in science and mathematics, and many were trained as mathematicians at the Jesuit seminaries. For a number of Jesuits who followed Ricci, Kochi was a staging point on the way to China. Kochi was only 70km away from the largest repository of Kerala's mathematical and astronomical documents in Thrissur (Trichur). This was where, 200 years later, the European mathematicians Charles Whish and Heyne obtained their copies of manuscripts written by the Kerala mathematicians.
The Jesuits were expected to regularly submit reports to their headquarters in Rome, and it is possible that some of the reports may have contained appendices of a technical nature which would then be passed on by Rome to those who understood them, including notable mathematicians. Material gathered by the Jesuits was scattered all over Europe: at Pisa, where Galileo Galilei, Bonaventura Cavalieri and John Wallis spent time; at Padua, where James Gregory studied; at Paris, where Marin Mersenne, through his correspondence with Pierre de Fermat, Blaise Pascal, Galileo and Wallis, acted as an agent for the transmission of mathematical ideas. It is quite possible that these mathematical ideas transmitted by the Jesuits included mathematics from Kerala.
Other pieces of circumstantial evidence include:

We are not allowed to speculate ourselves. And in reporting the speculations of others, we have to select carefully, give specific references, and attribute opinions.

Pjacobi 13:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for removing the text. I had been meaning to do that myself since I had written a sourced section on the same topic for the Indian mathematics page. I have now added that section here. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:16, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

bressoud's paper[edit]

User:fowler, Be WP:CIVIL. Those edits were made after due consideration . It should be understood that Bressoud's conclusion' comes from no where . There is no discussion regarding this issue in the whole paper. Therefore , his remark remains an "opinion" , it cannot be presented as a fact in an encyclopedia article like this.-Bharatveer (talk) 13:40, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Huh? What are you talking about? The language was the result of a long RfC on the Talk:Indian mathematics page, and was simply copied and pasted here from that page. I know because I did it and the language has remained the same for over a year. As for saying, "David Bressoud feels ...," its not just Bressoud, its Victor Katz, David Pingree. Kim Plofker, in a series of papers on Kerala Mathematics in Historia Mathematica says the same, as she does in her long chapter on Indian mathematics in Katz's book, and her forthcoming Mathematics of India (Princeton University Press, 2009).
One the one hand we have a consensus among scholars, all published in the major journals of the history of mathematics; one the other had we have the ragtag band of mavericks, with not a single publication in a recognized history of mathematics journal (I checked: the JSTOR search on Messrs. Joseph, Almeida or Raju turns up empty), and were are supposed to advertise the three musketeers? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:27, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
And, "there's no discussion about this in the entire paper?" Have you read the paper? Here is the beginning of the conclusion:

"There is no evidence that the Indian work on series was known beyond India, or even outside Kerala, until the nineteenth century. Gold and Pingree assert [4] that by the time these series were rediscovered in Europe, they had, for all practical purposes, been lost to India. The expansions of the sine, cosine, and arc tangent had been passed down through several generations of disciples, but they remained sterile observations for which no one could find much use."

Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:41, 21 July 2008 (UTC) Updated:Fowler&fowler«Talk» 19:10, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

User:fowler , Don't try to mislead the discussion. Is there anything in the paper , which shows how he came to this final conclusion. -Bharatveer (talk) 04:43, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
user:fowler, You are now on the verge of 3RR violation. Instead of making tall claims, first discuss it here. Please show us where Bressoud discuss his "conclusion" in his paper.-Bharatveer (talk) 12:45, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I am about to violate 3RR? Care to lay out the evidence?
The burden is not on Bressoud, the burden is on people who make such claims to show that transmission took place, not transmission could have taken place. Note the titles of all the so-called "papers" written by our maverick scholars is "Possible transmission ..."
Here is a list of Journals containing articles on the History of Mathematics. None of the three musketeers have a single paper in any journal there. Where have these papers on "possible transmission ..." been published? Joseph and Almeida have a paper in a journal called Race and Class ("Eurocentrism in the History of Mathematics: The Case of the Kerala School," Journal article by Dennis F. Almeida, George G. Joseph; Race and Class, Vol. 45, 2004.) They also have a second paper, "Kerala mathematics and its possible transmission to Europe," and where has the other paper been published? In the Philosophy of mathematical education, the University of Exeter's in-house on-line "journal" about topics in mathematical education, which use to be a newsletter. Any papers in the list of journals in History of Mathematics? Nope. Nothing there.
And, Raju? Not even sure if the dude understands the nature of Kerala mathematics. This exchange with Kim Plofker clearly indicates that his knowledge is at best shabby and his tone relentlessly condescending and shrill: Raju, Plofker And where has he published? In the journals of the history of mathematics? Nope. Nothing there.
The idea that calculus was not invented in Europe, but instead by the Kerala School and thereafter "stolen" in some fashion by Newton and Leibniz would, if established, be the single biggest event in the field of History of Mathematics of the last 100 years. Not only have there been many distinguished scholars (historians of mathematics) like David Pingree, Kim Plofker, Takeo Hayashi, B.L. van der Waerden, Frits Staal who have studied the mathematics of the Kerala School since the manuscripts were discovered in the 1830s, but there is a world of historians of mathematics and their graduate students out there, both dead and living, who would have killed and still would kill to establish the fact. Do you really think it would be left to second-rate scholars like Raju with no history or training in the field to establish it? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
User:fowler , YOU are again trying to 'divert' the discussion . These Ad hominem attacks against Raju is not going to help either here or in Michael_Atiyah . Please be brief and explain where in Bressoud's paper does he discuss his concluding remarks ? - Bharatveer (talk) 04:38, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
User:fowler, I hope you will show us where Bressoud discusses this issue in the above quoted paper. I am eagerly waiting for that.-Bharatveer (talk) 12:39, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
User:fowler, How many times will you do "revert"? Instead of WP:owning the page, discuss here.? WHy dont you show us the relevant portion of Bressoud's paper where he discusses this conclusion?? -Bharatveer (talk) 04:49, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) There are four scholars (including David Pingree) now testifying that it wasn't calculus or it wasn't transmitted, or both, all footnoted in the statement in the page's lead. What part of Bressoud's statement, ""There is no evidence that the Indian work on series was known beyond India, or even outside Kerala, until the nineteenth century. Gold and Pingree assert [4] that by the time these series were rediscovered in Europe, they had, for all practical purposes, been lost to India. The expansions of the sine, cosine, and arc tangent had been passed down through several generations of disciples, but they remained sterile observations for which no one could find much use." are you having trouble with? Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:52, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Dr. C. K. Raju's response to Bressod's Paper:

"Obviously not. Bressoud says, for example, that trigonometry developed in classical Greece. That deserves a horse laugh, for those Greeks did not even know properly how to multiply and divide, since their system of representing numbers, like the Roman numerals, was excessively primitive, and tied to the kindergarten abacus. That is why their calendar too was so lousy, as was their astronomy. (They couldn’t get the length of the year right until 1582.)

Again Bressoud says trigonometry began with Hipparchus, knowing well that there is not the tiniest shred of evidence for that claim. That is the Western historian’s way of “faith” through eternal repetition of myths!

Further, as pointed out in my booklet, “Is Science Western in Origin?” there is no evidence even for the existence of Claudius Ptolemy, for _every_ “observation” in the accretive text Almagest from the 12th c. is erroneous, and that error can be shown to have arisen from back-calculation based on faulty theory. Hence, it is lousy historical practice to treat some samples of those “observations” as scriptural and use them date the “original” text. The Almagest comes to us as an Arabic text which began in Persia, and was appropriated to Greeks during the Crusades.

Similarly, the evidence for transmission of trigonometry from Greece is (you guessed it) nil, but Western historians don’t apply the same standards of evidence to _this_ claim of transmission as they do to the transmission of calculus. They use two standards of evidence for they well know they are telling and defending falsehoods. In fact, since the Almagest is accretive, the trigonometry in it probably came from India, via Indian astronomy texts which travelled to Jundishapur and Baghdad in the 6th to 9th c.

Bressoud says that what emerged in India was sterile. In fact, those accurate trigonometric values were stolen and used by the West to solve their leading scientific problem of the time: navigation. They just don’t want to acknowledge it as a matter of religious faith. Without accurate trigonometric values there would have been no Mercator chart. How could Clavius (the top Jesuit) have derived trigonometric values, when neither he nor any other European then knew enough trigonometry even to measure the size of the earth correctly? Just look at the foolish figures of Columbus and even Newton (who came after Clavius) about the size of the earth.

Sterility better applies to what the West did to calculus through misunderstanding. Every meaningful consequence of Newtonian physics involved the numerical solution of differential equations, using Aryabhata’s method. That is still how things are done today. It was the obsession with the purported “perfection” of mathematics which led Newtonian physics to its crash. But Aryabhata’s fertile technique (from the 5th c.) continues to be used today, and will continue to be used in the future.

It is limits which are sterile metaphysics, better suited to theology, not mathematics. As another example, is a discontinuous function differentiable or not? Elementary mathematics (college calculus based on limits) says no, while “advanced” mathematics (Schwartz theory) says yes. So limits allow you to believe just what you like! That is the hallmark of metaphysics.

But what should one believe about the differential equations of physics? Do they or do they not admit discontinuous solutions, which are actually observed, as in shock waves? _Neither_ definition of derivative can be used: the elementary one fails since a discontinuous function cannot be differentiated, and the advanced one fails since Schwartz distributions cannot be multiplied! :)) That is the level of clarity these chaps have got after four hundred and fifty years! (Of course, Schwartz distributions can be multiplied by piling on the metaphysics, but that results in ridiculous definitions like those of Hormander or Colombeau, which do not work, as I showed long ago.) The only way to make things work is to look at the physics of the situation, not the metaphysics, which can be used to play endless games.

For more details, see my book Cultural Foundations of Mathematics." (talk) 07:47, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Best to ignore this dude. His book is garbage. He already made much mischief on the Michael Atiyah page. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 03:53, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

You cannot ignore whatever you want DUDE...right now, wikipedia is by all means western biased...there will be millions editing this when time is right and your western bias will be screwed to the extent you cannot imagine. Be ready dear WESTERN DUDE! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:21, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Historical account[edit]

It would be a great asset for this article if we can add some historical context. At present the article seems to be an account of the mathematicians and their works. I searched a bit and am still puzzled by these historical details such as

  • When exactly it came into existence ?
  • What was the school called in local tongue ?
  • What happened to the school and if there are there any physical remains of it today ? Sibi_antony (talk) 16:02, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Misuse of sources[edit]

This article has been edited by a user who is known to have misused sources to unduly promote certain views (see WP:Jagged 85 cleanup). Examination of the sources used by this editor often reveals that the sources have been selectively interpreted or blatantly misrepresented, going beyond any reasonable interpretation of the authors' intent.

As an example of the problem, the text in Reliable sources needed (above) was added by Jagged 85.

Jagged 85 made 116 edits to Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics. Diffs for each edit are listed at cleanup2, however it is easier to view the full history of the article. Following is a summary of all the edits. Each item is a diff showing the result of several consecutive edits to Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics by Jagged 85, in chronological order.

It might be useful to discuss which references can be regarded as valid. I recommend heavy pruning of all material with poor sourcing because that is desirable in general, and is essential in cases related to Jagged 85 because we have numerous examples of that editor completing misrepresenting sources. Johnuniq (talk) 00:14, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

If unreliable sources are being systematically used, we should revert to the version of the article prior to the changes by this editor. Tkuvho (talk) 01:41, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
I also think strong action is required, with severe pruning. However, Jagged has been active for several years (the first link in the summary diffs above is from 2005), so it is not really feasible to rollback to a prior date. Johnuniq (talk) 08:27, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm. There are the familiar claims of calculus precursors. Poking around, is used as a source several times, but Subhash Kak doesn't look reliable in this context William M. Connolley (talk) 12:10, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Can you please elaborate why Kak does not look reliable? Is it because he is Non-European? Please explain why he is not reliable. I do not want to hear your downright conclusion of "Kak is does not look reliable" and agree with you without any reason. (talk) 07:39, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Kak is unreliable because as a computer scientist he has had no training in the methodology of the social sciences. He has very few publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals in the social sciences or the humanities. Of course, that doesn't stop him from advancing the boundaries of pseudo-science in pre-prints or in books that are published by obscure publishers. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 03:59, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

I would suggest the following procedure: (1) identify the problematic editors who are adding this junk, and (2) revert to the version (probably a few years ago) before they got a chance to scribble here. Tkuvho (talk) 12:25, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I had cleaned up much of the older text, but left section 2 in, for example in this edit of 2008. The best thing would be roll back to that edit and remove section 2 there (and also sections 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4). Section 1.1 there is well-sourced (not to Peirce), but to Kim Plofker and to various History of Mathematics papers. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:07, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
I have now rolled the page back to that version and removed the problem sections there. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:40, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
PS the footnotes there (of Plofker, Pingree, Bressoud and others) lay to rest all revivalist fantasies of the Wiki India/Kerala nationalists who have meddled with the page during the last two or three years. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:45, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
The section Kerala_school_of_astronomy_and_mathematics#Possibility_of_transmission_of_Kerala_School_results_to_Europe should be looked at closely. It has all the telltale signs of ethnomathematics, including name-dropping e.g., unspecified "research at the CNRS". The existence of trade routes is of course important, but couldn't influence travel in the opposite direction along such trade routes? Could, for example, Diophantes have influenced the Indians via trade routes? Fermat said he got his idea of adequality from Diophantes. Tkuvho (talk) 04:52, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, that part is either from Bressoud or Katz. I don't think they were name dropping, just allowing for all possibilities, but remaining skeptical. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 05:09, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Did you ever get a chance to check out what kind of work is going on at the CNRS and what conclusions may have been reached? If Bressoud and Katz are both sceptical why should we have a section that implies that there is some truth in such alleged transmissions? Tkuvho (talk) 12:10, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I can only rely on what the source is saying. Here is the entire two paragraphs of Katz's conclusion:

I believe my conclusion in the article is actually more skeptical than Katz's own conclusion! You are welcome to check up on the latest activities of the CNRS and edify us if you'd like to. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:20, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

PS There is also the question of the transmission of al-Haytham's work to India. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:20, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Ian Pearce's pseudohistory[edit]

The page should be pruned of Pearce's text. Tkuvho (talk) 02:50, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

It is now. :) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 12:01, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

It is funny how you western zealots are dying for nullifying Indian contribution.......I feel sorry that your greek heritage is falling apart...It needs only few more years when you cannot deal with the sheer force of reality. In many ways you are not so different form Islamic activists who constantly try to prove they are superior than everybody..ha ha —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Trigometric Series And Radians[edit]

Indian mathematics of this period is entirely rhetorical, ie. no symbolism was used. The equivalent of formula were written out in words (and without brackets whose absence can lend to ambiguity). This should be stated at the beginning of the article. Thus the statement that they had no symbol for factorial is a trivial consequence of this.

The trigonometric formulae given in the article cannot possibly be directly derived from the verbal expressions given in the source material since they only hold true when expressed in radians, which ASAIK were not invented until the early eighteenth century by Roger Cotes.

The reference to induction is irelevent, obfuscatory, and presentist. It would be better to say simply and with greater clarity that some results were probably conjectured to be true on the basis for a small few values of n, (assuming that is the case) but lacked the technical apparatus to prove them. Similarly the use of the terms rectification and quadrature when length and area under curve would do.

The editor who used the term theorem does not understand its meaning. It would be better to refer to formulae or identities and to again stress what was then then their conjectural status.

This article trips itself up claiming results and then almost immediately attributing them to earlier "Arabic mathematicians". If these two results are mentioned then they should be put at the end and it be stated that they were probably discovered independently.

IMHO the remarks about radians are sufficient to warrant the article be scrapped and rewritten by an expert in the subject, not by POV-er ignorami — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:16, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

The article has had a troubled history. Do feel free to try to improve it William M. Connolley (talk) 21:31, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Basically a nonsense.[edit]

It is just a matter of time before every minor geographical area on this earth would come out with such claims. Kerala is now having high financial capacity due to the foreign exchange value fraud. Once this stopped, and other part of Indian nations also comes up financially, they will make up for the lost time, to claim all this as theirs.

Before 1956 there was no Kerala, as such other than three minor regions, one north of Korapuzha in Calicut, second the south Malabar region, and the Cochin to Cape Comerin regions. All of them were quite unconnected to each other.

As to the name Kerala, it is true that this name is mentioned in some ancient books. However, plenty of other names were also there to describe this region.

As to the people quality, most of them were slaves or low castes, suppressed by the local landlords. (Source: Travancore state Manual, Native life in Travancore, Malabar State Manual &c.)

As to the scientific discoveries claimed to have been 'Keralites', is just jinogistic nonsense. These knowledge are just part of the worldwide information that was shared through trade routes, and dates to prehistoric times in all places. No one really knows their exact origin, or the people really discovered them. Even Mayan scientific knowledge and possessed by the Egyptians are also from this prehistoric times, and do not belong to the people who live in these places currently.

Even the word 'Indian Mathematician' used in various Wikipedia pages is also wrong. As there was no India the nation before 1947, no such term used inside this geographical area before British-India.