Algorithms or Axioms ?, A View of Indic Mathematics (Fifteen Raja Ramanna Memorial Lecture, 8 January 2020)

Narasimha, Roddam (2020) Algorithms or Axioms ?, A View of Indic Mathematics (Fifteen Raja Ramanna Memorial Lecture, 8 January 2020). [Video]

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Abstract: Indic mathematics has a long history, going at least as far back as Boudhayana’s Sulbra-sutra of around 8th c. BCE. Throughout the long history from 8th c. BCE to about the 16th century CE, number, calculation, algorithms, algebra (bija-ganita) and equations captured the imagination and interest of India’s leading mathematicians. This is in strong contrast to early developments in the West, where axioms and two-valued logic, born in classical Greece (6th c. BCE to 2nd c. CE) and much used in geometry, made it a major area of interest. These Greek ideas found a harsh critic in Francis Bacon, who emphasized the role of number and the weakness of Euclid’s geometry, and declared that axioms must be inferred from experience, thus emphasizing observation, calculation and experience as prior to the ‘discovery’ of axioms. This was eventually adopted in Britain and Europe, leading first to the scientific and later to the industrial revolution. In the 20th c and the beginning of the 21st, computation and algorithm are again beginning to play a major role, with such developments as Gödel’s theorem, Artificial Intelligence etc., which may play a major role in advancing scientific knowledge. It has even been argued recently that “truth” is in the “algorithm”, and not in “logic”. The lecture will present a brief review of these concepts and some speculations on the future. About the Speaker: Dr Roddam Narasimha, Honorary Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, is an aerospace scientist with strong interests in atmospheric dynamics and the history of Indic mathematics. Much of his professional life has been spent at IISc and JNC; he has also been Director of the National Aerospace Labs (1984-93) and of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (1997-2004). He was Clark B Millikan Professor at Caltech (in the 1980s to 90s), and J. Nehru Professor at Cambridge (1989-90). His recent research interests are in designing more efficient wings for turboprop aircraft and understanding the dynamics of cumulus cloud flows. He also has an abiding interest in the history of Indic science and technology and is a co-editor of An Encyclopedia of Classical Indian Sciences and of Nature and Culture. He has been a member of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Council and the Space Commission for several terms. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society London, and a Foreign Associate of both the US National Academy of Engineering and the US National Academy of Sciences. He won the AIAA Fluid Dynamics Award in 2000 and the Trieste Science Prize for Engineering Sciences in 2008. In India his distinctions include the Bhatnagar Prize, Life-Time Achievement Awards from the Indian National Academy of Engineering and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the Padma Vibhushan. He got his Masters from IISc and PhD from Caltech, and has many honorary doctoral degrees.
Item Type: Video
Additional Information: Copyright belongs to NIAS
Keywords: Algorithms, Axioms, Indic Mathematics
Subjects: NIAS Resources > Lectures-DVDs
NIAS Resources > NIAS Lectures
General > Directors > Roddam Narasimha > Events and Lectures
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2021 08:33
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 09:27
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