Reconsidering the History of Mathematics in India

Speaker: Clemency Montelle

Date: 2021

Location: University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, Online

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Scientific


Mathematics on the Indian subcontinent has been flourishing for over two and a half millennia, and this culture of inquiry has produced insights and techniques that are central to many of our mathematical practices today, such as the base ten decimal place value system and trigonometry. Indeed, many of their technical procedures, such as infinite series expansions for various mathematical relations predated those that were developed with the advent of the Calculus in Europe, but notably in contrasting intellectual circumstances with distinctly different epistemic priorities. However, while many histories of mathematics have centered on the so-called “western miracle” in their analysis of the ignition and flourishing of modern science, they have done so at the expense of other non-European traditions. This talk will highlight some of the significant mathematical achievements of India, and explore the work that remains to be done integrating them into more standard histories of mathematics.​