World’s Super Scientists – Aryabhatta

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Arya :  “Jai” Bhatta :  Learned Brahmin  Aryabhatta

Scientist Aryabhatta ( also Aryabhata ) ( 476 AD – 550 ) is the first in the line of great mathematician – astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian Astronomy.

The statue of Scientist Aryabhatta is existing in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Bhaskara I was his disciple.

Scientist Aryabhatta was born in Kerala in 476 AD; other traditions claim he was a Maga Brahmin from Gujarat.

At some point of time, Scientist Aryabhatta went to Kusumapura [Pataliputra ( modern Patna ) ]. Aryabhatta was a Jain astronomer of Kerala; Kusumapura was a Jain center of learning. Proof is there that Scientist Aryabhatta observed the heavens from the latitudes of Kerala including Kanyakumari at 08N00.

Scientist Aryabhatta first name “Arya” is a term used for respect, such as “Sri”, “Thiru”; whereas Bhatta, a typical North Indian name – among Brahmin pundits as their last name.

Scientist Aryabhattiya

Scientist Aryabhatt’s major work, Aryabhattiya ( also Aryabhatiya ), a compendium of mathematics and astronomy, divided into four pAdas or chapters: [note A:. open mouth, utter extended A].

1. gitikApAda – kalpa, manvantra, yuga, which present a cosmology, mahayuga 4.32 mn years.

2. gaNitapAda — covering mensuration ( kShetra vyAvahAra ), arithmetic and geometric progressions, gnomon/shadows ( shanku – chhAyA ), equations (kuTTaka ).

3. kAlakriyApAda units of time; determination of positions of planets for a given day. Intercalary month ( adhikamAsa ). kShaya tithis seven-day week, with names of the days.

4. golapAda Geometric/trigonometric aspects of the celestial sphere, shape of earth, etc.

Pi ( pi ) as irrational

Scientist Aryabhatta realized that pi is irrational. The irrationality of pi was proved in Europe only in 1761 by Lambert.

The Arya – Siddhanta, lost work on astronomical computations.Contained description of astronomical instruments : the gnomon ( shanku-yantra ); a shadow instrument ( chhAyA – yantra ); angle-measuring devices semicircle and circle – shaped ( dhanur – yantra /chakra – yantra ); a cylindrical stick yasti – yantra; an umbrella – shaped device called chhatri – yantra.

Motions of the Solar System

Scientist Aryabhatta believed that the earth rotates about its axis.

LankA, Lanka ( Sri Lanka ) is here a reference point on the equator, which was taken as the equivalent to the reference meridian for astronomical calculations.

Scientist Aryabhatta described a geocentric model of the solar system, in which the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth.

The order of the planets in terms of distance from earth are taken as :  the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the asterisms ( groups of stars ).

[Note: Motion is different from action!]


Scientist Aryabhatta states that the Moon and other planets shine by reflected sunlight.

Scientist Aryabhatta explains eclipses in terms of shadows cast by and falling on earth. Thus the lunar eclipse occurs when the moon enters into the earth-shadow.

Scientist Aryabhatta’s computation of Earth’s circumference works out as 24,835 miles, which was only 0.2% smaller than the actual value of 24,902 miles.

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Sidereal periods

According to Scientist Aryabhatta :

Sidereal rotation ( the rotation of the earth referenced to fixed stars) is 23 hours 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds; the modern value is 23 hours 56 minutes and 4.091 seconds.
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Sidereal year :  365 days 6 hours 12 minutes 30 seconds, an error of 3 minutes 20 seconds over the length of a year.


helio – combining form denoting the sun.

Scientist Aryabhatta claimed that the Earth is round, it turns on its own axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space – view expressed 1000 years before Copernicus.

Scientist Aryabhatta Calendric calculations

Scientist Aryabhatta’s calculations were in vogue, in continuous use in India for the practical purposes of fixing the Panchanga or Hindu calendar.

These were also transmitted to the Islamic world, and formed the basis for the Jalali calender introduced by astronomers including Omar Khayyam; versions of which are the national calendars in use in Iran and Afghanistan today.
The Jalali calendar determines its dates based on actual solar transit.

Scientist Aryabhatta Astronomy

Scientist Aryabhatta’s work was of great influence in the Indian astronomical tradition, and influenced the neighbouring countries / cultures.

The Arabic translations are cited by Al – Khwarizmi, Al – Biruni.

  • In 1465 Nilakantha Somayaji wrote in his book Aryabhattiya Bhashya comments about Scientist Aryabhatta’s achievements.


  • India’s first satellite Aryabhatta, was named after him.
  • The lunar crater Aryabhatta is named in his honour.
  • The interschool Aryabhatta Maths competition is named after him.


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