Aryabhata was an acclaimed mathematician-astronomer. He was born in Kusuma pura (present day Patna) in Bihar, India. His contribution to mathematics, science and astronomy is immense, and yet he has not been accorded the recognition in the world history of science. At the age of 24, he wrote his famed “Aryabhatiya”. He was aware of the concept of zero, as well as the use of large numbers up to 1018. He was the first to calculate the value for ‘pi’ accurately to the fourth decimal point. He devised the formula for calculating areas of triangles and circles. He calculated the circumference of the earth as 62,832 miles, which is an excellent approximation, and suggested that the apparent rotation of the heavens was due to the axial rotation of the earth on its axis. He was the first known astronomer to devise a continuous counting of solar days, designating each day with a number. He asserted that the planets shine due to the reflection of sunlight, and that the eclipses occur due to the shadows of moon and earth. His observations discount the “flat earth” concept, and lay the foundation for the belief that earth and other planets orbit the sun.
Childhood & Early Life.
Aryabhata’s birthplace is uncertain, but it may have been in the area known in ancient texts as Ashmaka, which may have been Maharashtra or Dhaka or in Kusumapura in present day Patna.
Some archaeological evidence suggests that he came from the present day Kodungallur, the historical capital city of Thiruvanchikkulam of ancient Kerala – this theory is strengthened by the several commentaries on him having come from Kerala.
He went to Kusumapura for advanced studies and lived there for some time. Both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, as well as Bhaskara I, the 7th Century mathematician, identify Kusumapura as modern Patna.