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Hindu-Muslim Relations, Courtly Patronage, and Related Numerical Methods for Computing sin 1º in Early Modern Central/South Asia


Professor Kim Plofker
Union College

May 3, 2016
5:00 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served in Bailey Hall 204 4:45pm


Before the development of power series expressions for trigonometric functions and electronic devices for evaluating them, the computation of accurate sine values required a great deal of mathematical creativity and ingenuity as well as hard work. This story, with elements of interest for both mathematicians and non-mathematicians, begins with the invention of trigonometry in the Hellenistic world and continues through the skillful blending of classical geometry with numerical methods in medieval Muslim mathematics, up to an account of a recently (re)discovered Sanskrit manuscript from the early 18th century. As our discussion will show, this manuscript reveals an intriguing instance of scientific transmission and mathematical synthesis at the court of the learned Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in western India.

For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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