India

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and the Evolution of Stars

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and the Evolution of Stars

On October 19, 1910, Indian-American astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born. He won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics together with William Alfred Fowler for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars. Actually, winning Nobel Prizes in physics must lie somehow in the family of Chandrasekhar, because his uncle Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman won the Nobel Prize for Physics already in…
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Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

On 24 February 1304, Muslim Berber Moroccan scholar, and explorer Ibn Battuta was born. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, India and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling. “I arrived at…
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The Rise and Fall of the British East India Company

The Rise and Fall of the British East India Company

On December 31, 1600, the British East India Company (EIC) received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies pursuing trade with the East Indies. “The East India Company established a monopoly over the production of opium, shortly after taking over Bengal.” – Robert Trout [10] The Foundation of the British East India Company Already 12 years before, the Spanish Armada was defeated…
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Augustus de Morgan and Formal Logic

Augustus de Morgan and Formal Logic

On June 27, 1806, British mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan was born. He formulated De Morgan‘s laws and introduced the term mathematical induction, a method of mathematical proof typically used to establish a given statement for all natural numbers. As a computer scientist, I am of course familiar with De Morgan‘s laws, which are fundamental for Boolean logic. De Morgan‘s laws are merely transformation rules for two of the basic operators…
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Reshaping India’s Literature – Rabindranath Tagore

Reshaping India’s Literature – Rabindranath Tagore

On May 7, 1861, Bengali polymath and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore was born. He was highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally considered as the outstanding creative artist of modern India. “The truth comes as conqueror only because we have lost the art of receiving it as guest.” – Rabindranath Tagore, The Fourfold Way of India (1924); The Youngest of Thirteen…
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Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

On December 24, 1524, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, passed away. He was one of the most successful explorers in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. Background Vasco da Gama was born into a family of noblemen, his father belonged to the Order of Santiago and was occupied with several administrative tasks. Little is known about…
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Homi J. Bhabha and the Indian Nuclear Programme

Homi J. Bhabha and the Indian Nuclear Programme

On October 30, 1909, Indian nuclear physicist Homi J. Bhabha was born. Bhabha is often referred to as known as “father of the Indian nuclear programme“. With support from industrialist Dorabji Jamsetji Tata, he established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay (1945) for large scale research in physics, chemistry, electronics and mathematics. He envisioned nuclear power from thorium instead of uranium reserves. Education Homi Jehangir Bhabha went to school in Bombay, including Elphinstone…
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Sir George Everest and his Trigonometric Survey of India

Sir George Everest and his Trigonometric Survey of India

On July 4, 1790, Welsh military engineer and geodesist Sir George Everest was born. Everest was the Surveyor General of India from 1830 through 1843, providing the accurate mapping of the subcontinent. For more than twenty-five years and despite numerous hardships, he surveyed the longest arc of the meridian ever accomplished at the time. In 1865, Mount Everest was named in his honour in the English language, despite his objections, by the…
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Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and Statistics

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and Statistics

On June 29, 1893, Indian statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was born. Mahalanobis is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure and for being one of the members of the first Planning commission of free India. He also made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India. He also devised fractile graphical analysis to study socioeconomic conditions. He applied statistics to issues of crop yields and planning for flood control. “In India, there’s…
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Aryabhata and Early Indian Mathematics

Aryabhata and Early Indian Mathematics

In 476 CE, Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata was born. Aryabhata is the earliest Indian mathematician whose work and history are available to modern scholars. In his work “Ganita” Aryabhata names the first 10 decimal places and gives algorithms for obtaining square and cubic roots, using the decimal number system. He also came up with an approximation of pi and the area of a triangle. “Aryabhata is the master who, after reaching…
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