500 Years of Tantrasangraha: A Landmark in the History of Astronomy

 Divine  AffairsThe year 2000 was the five-hundredth anniversary of the composition of the celebrated astronomical text Tantrasangraha by the renowned Kerla astronomer Nilakantha Somayaji (c. 1444-1545 AD) of Trikkantiyur. Tantrasangraha ranks along with Aryabhatiya (c. 499 AD) of Aryabhata and Siddantasiromani (c. 1150 AD) of Bhaskaracharya as one of the major works which significantly influenced all further work on Astronomy in India.

In Tantrasangraha, Nilkantha introduced a major revision of the traditional Indian planetary model. He arrived at a unified theory of planetary latitudes and a betteer formulation of the equation of centre for the interior planets (mercury and Venus) than was available, either in the earlier Indian works, or in the Islamic or Europian traditions of Astronomy till the work of Kepler. In his other works Golspara, Sidhantadarpana and Aryabhatiyabhashya, Nilkantha outlined the geometrical picture of planetary motion that follows from its model. According to this picture, the five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn go around the Sun which in turn goes around the Earth.

During 11-13 March, 2000, the Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Madras, organised a Conference to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of Tantrasangraha, in collaboration with the Inter-University Centre of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. The Conference turned out to be an important occasion for highlighting and reviewing the recent work on the achievements in Mathematics and Astronomy of the Kerla school and the new perspectives in History of Science, which are emerging from these studies. This volume is a compilation of the important papers presented at this Conference.

ISBN: 81-7986-009-4 Rs. 300

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