Culture and History of Mathematics

Mathematics in India
Kim Plofker

CHOM 7Based on extensive research in Sanskrit sources, Mathematics in India chronicles the development of mathematical techniques and texts in South Asia from antiquity to the early modern period. Kim Plofker reexamines the few facts about Indian mathematics that have become common knowledge--such as the Indian origin of Arabic numerals--and she sets them in a larger textual and cultural framework. The book details aspects of the subject that have been largely passed over in the past, including the relationships between Indian mathematics and astronomy, and their cross-fertilizations with Islamic scientific traditions. Plofker shows that Indian mathematics appears not as a disconnected set of discoveries, but as a lively, diverse, yet strongly unified discipline, intimately linked to other Indian forms of learning.

Far more than in other areas of the history of mathematics, the literature on Indian mathematics reveals huge discrepancies between what researchers generally agree on and what general readers pick up from popular ideas. This book explains with candor the chief controversies causing these discrepancies--both the flaws in many popular claims, and the uncertainties underlying many scholarly conclusions. Supplementing the main narrative are biographical resources for dozens of Indian mathematicians; a guide to key features of Sanskrit for the non-Indologist; and illustrations of manuscripts, inscriptions, and artifacts. Mathematics in India provides a rich and complex understanding of the Indian mathematical tradition.
"This carefully researched chronicle of the principal contributions made by a great civilization covers the earliest days of Indian history through to the beginning of the modern period. . . . Kim Plofker's book fulfils an important need in a world where mathematical historiography has been shaped by the dominance of the Greco-Christian view and the Enlightenment period."
-- Pervez Hoodbhoy, Nature
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Mathematical Thought in Vedic India
Chapter 3. Mathematical Traces in the Early Classical Period
Chapter 4. The Mathematical Universe
Chapter 5. The Genre of Medieval Mathematics
Chapter 6. The Development of "Canonical" Mathematics
Chapter 7. The School of Madhava in Kerala
Chapter 8. Exchanges with the Islamic World
Chapter 9. Continuity and Changes in the Modern Period
Appendix A. Some Basic Features of Sanskrit Language and Literature
Appendix B. Biographical Data on Indian Mathematicians

Reprint for sale in India only
Culture and History of Mathematics /7
2012, 97893802503800, 372 pages, hard cover, Out of Print