Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Sines in terse verse

Writing in 449 CE, the Indian astronomer-mathematician Âryabhata created a code that provided an ingenious solution to the problem of writing mathematics in terse verse.

In Âryabhata’s system, the 25 ‘classified’ consonants of the Sanskrit alphabet, k to m, stand for the numbers 1 to 25; the eight unclassified consonants y to h stand for the numbers 30 to 100 in steps of 10. The place value is indicated by the nine vowels a to au progressively from 1000 to 1008 in steps of 100.

Huge numbers can in this system be represented by short, synthetic words.

Reference: Nature 414, 851 (2001)

Link to full text
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.