Mathematics is one of the most important subjects in the world. It is a foundation for many other sciences and has been used to solve some of the most complex problems in history. India has a long history of mathematical achievement and has produced some of the greatest mathematicians in the world. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the greatest Indian mathematicians and explore their contributions to mathematics.
12 Greatest Male Mathematicians of India
From ancient times through the medieval period and into the modern age, India has been home to some of the world’s greatest mathematicians. Here are 12 of the most brilliant Indian minds that have made contributions in the field of mathematics.
1. Aryabhata- Father of Indian Mathematics
Aryabhata was an Indian mathematician and astronomer who lived in the fifth century C.E. He is best known for his work on the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and his contributions to algebra, trigonometry and calculus.
Aryabhata’s most famous work is the Aryabhatiya, a treatise on mathematics and astronomy. He also wrote a work on Medical Astrology, which is now lost.
Aryabhata was born in Pataliputra (now Patna) in India. Little is known about his early life, except that he belonged to the Brahmin caste. Aryabhata is believed to have studied at the University of Nalanda, one of the most prestigious learning centres in ancient India.
After completing his studies, Aryabhata returned to Kusumapura (modern-day Patna), where he spent most of his life working on his mathematical and astronomical works.
Aryabhata died in the city of Pataliputra sometime around 550 CE.
2. Bhaskara I – Great Mathematician and Astronomer
Bhaskara I, also known as Bhāskara the Elder, lived in India in the 12th century. He was a prominent mathematician and astronomer and made significant contributions to both fields.
In mathematics, he is best known for his work on arithmetic and algebra. He authored several texts, including the influential Siddhānta Śiromani, which summarised the state of mathematics at the time.
In astronomy, Bhaskara made several important observations and was the first to notice that the planet Venus has phases like the Moon. He also developed a more accurate method for predicting eclipses.
Bhaskara’s work was hugely influential in both India and beyond and helped to shape the development of mathematics and astronomy in the medieval period.
Bhaskara was born in the city of Bijapur in present-day Karnataka, India. Not much is known about his early life or education. It is believed that he may have studied at a religious school or monastery, as he was a Hindu priest.
Bhaskara spent most of his life in Bijapur, where he worked as a teacher and astronomer. He died sometime around 1185 CE.
3. Bhaskara II- Great Indian Mathematician
Bhaskara II, also known as Bhaskaracharya (“Teacher Bhaskara”), was one of the most influential mathematicians of the 12th century. He is best known for his work on calculus, which he developed independently of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. He also made significant contributions to algebra, geometry, and astronomy.
Born in Bijapur, India, Bhaskara began studying mathematics at an early age. He excelled in his studies and became a highly respected teacher.
In 1150, he wrote a treatise on calculus, which was the first work to describe the principles of differentiation and integration clearly. Bhaskara’s work had a significant impact on the development of mathematics in India and beyond.
He also wrote several other texts on mathematics and astronomy, which were hugely influential in the medieval period. Bhaskara died sometime around 1250 CE.
4. Brahmagupta- Father of Algebra
Brahmagupta was a renowned Indian mathematician who lived in the seventh century. He made significant contributions to algebra, geometry, and astronomy.
Brahmagupta is best known for his work on quadratic equations, which laid the foundation for modern algebra. He also devised a method for finding the sum of a series, which is still used today.
In addition to his work on mathematics, Brahmagupta also made significant contributions to astronomy. He accurately calculated the solar year’s length, and he developed a method for predicting eclipses.
Brahmagupta’s contributions to mathematics and astronomy earned him a reputation as one of the greatest Indian mathematicians. He is recognized as one of India’s greatest mathematicians. Brahmagupta died in 670 CE.
5. Mahavira- Great Jain Mathematician
Mahavira was an Indian mathematician who lived in the 9th century C.E. He is best known for his work on algebra, which he developed independently of the Greek mathematician Diophantus. Mahavira’s algebra was particularly influential in India and went on to be used by Chinese and Arab mathematicians.
He also made significant contributions to geometry, including a method for constructing regular heptagons. In addition to his mathematical work, Mahavira is also known for his polemical writing, which critiqued the work of other mathematicians of his time.
Mahavira was a highly respected mathematician in his own day, and his work continues to be studied by scholars today. As one of the greatest Indian mathematicians, he has left a lasting legacy. Mahavira died in 850 CE.
6. Ramanujam- Mathematical Genius
Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory and continued fractions. Born in Erode, Tamil Nadu, Ramanujan showed a natural flair for mathematics from an early age. He completed his schooling in Kumbakonam and later attended Government College in Tiruchirappalli for his studies in mathematics.
Ramanujan’s work on continued fractions is particularly notable; he found new ways to determine their values and proved a number of theorems regarding them. He also worked on hypergeometric series, elliptic functions, and number theory.
Ramanujan’s contributions to mathematics have inspired a vast amount of further research; mainly, his work on modular forms laid the foundations for a new area of study called automorphic forms.
Ramanujan was eventually awarded the Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1918, one of the highest honours bestowed upon a mathematician. He is also recognized as one of India’s greatest mathematicians.
Ramanujan died in 1920 at the age of 32, but his legacy continues to live on through his work.
7. Raj Chandra Bose – The Man Who Knew Infinity
Raj Chandra Bose was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to combinatorics. He is best known for his work on the theory of quadratic forms and his research on the structure of finite fields.
Bose also made contributions to the study of coding theory and probability theory. He was born in Bengal in 1901, and he studied mathematics at Calcutta University.
After graduation, Bose began teaching at Presidency College in Calcutta. He later held positions at the University of Calcutta and the Indian Statistical Institute. Bose passed away in 1987.
During his lifetime, he received many honours, including the Order of the British Empire and the Nehru Award for Science.
8. P.C. Mahalanobis- The Architect of India’s Statistical System
P.C. Mahalanobis was an Indian statistician and economist who made major contributions to the field of statistics. He is best known for his work on the theory of sampling, which led to the development of the Mahalanobis distance.
This distance is a measure of how far a point is from a set of points, and it is used in many statistical applications. Mahalanobis also pioneered the use of statistics in economics, and he helped to establish the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata.
His work had a major impact on the development of statistics in India. He is considered one of the greatest Indian mathematicians. Mahalanobis passed away in 1972.
9. C.R. Rao- Famous Indian Statistician
C.R. Rao is one of the most renowned Indian mathematicians. His work in statistical theory has been highly influential, and he is considered one of the founders of modern statistics.
Rao has also made significant contributions to information theory, linear algebra, and both Bayesian and non-Bayesian estimation theory. In addition, he has worked on a wide variety of other topics, from multivariate analysis to optimal design theory.
He has received numerous awards and honours for his work, including the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. C.R. Rao is a true pioneer in the field of mathematics, and his work has had a profound impact on many different areas of study.
9. Ashutosh Mukherjee- Famous Indian Educationist
Indian mathematicians have made significant contributions to the field of mathematics, and Ashutosh Mukherjee is no exception. Born in 1864, Mukherjee was a professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Calcutta.
He made important contributions to the theory of differential equations. He was also the first Indian mathematician to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
In addition to his academic achievements, Mukherjee also served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta from 1906 to 1912. He advocated for education reform and helped establish several colleges and universities in India.
Thanks to his dedication to education, Ashutosh Mukherjee is considered one of the greatest Indian mathematicians.
10. K.R. Parthsarthy- Great Indian Mathematician
Indian mathematician K.R. Parthasarathy is best known for his work on number theory and probability theory. A native of Kerala, he was educated at the University of Madras and Cambridge University.
While at Cambridge, he worked under famed British mathematician G.H. Hardy. After immigrating to the United States in 1951, Parthasarathy taught at several institutions, including Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
In addition to his research contributions, Parthasarathy was also a gifted teacher, influencing a generation of mathematicians through his lectures and books. His most famous result is the Ramanujan-Parthasarathy conjecture, which he proved in 1977. He passed away in 2009, but his legacy continues to live on.
11. M.S. Narasimhan- Abel Prize Winner
M.S. Narasimhan is another Indian mathematician who made important contributions to the field of algebraic geometry. Born in 1938, he received his PhD from the University of Chicago before returning to India to teach at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
In addition to his work on algebraic geometry, Narasimhan has also made contributions to number theory and representation theory. He has been a visiting professor at several institutions, including Harvard University and Princeton Institute for Advanced Study.
Narasimhan is currently a professor emeritus at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He continues to do research despite his retirement. He is one of the most accomplished Indian mathematicians alive today.
12. Phoolan Prasad- Fields Medalist
Phoolan Prasad was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to the study of number theory. He is best known for his work on modular forms and elliptic curves. Prasad was born in Delhi, India, in 1866.
After completing his studies at the University of Delhi, he taught at various colleges and universities in India. In 1904, he was appointed as the head of the mathematics department at the University of Allahabad.
His peers highly respected Prasad’s research, and he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918. He died in Allahabad in 1934.
10 Greatest Female Mathematicians of India
There have been many great Indian mathematicians over the years. However, today we are going to focus on the greatest female mathematicians. These women have made significant contributions to mathematics and helped pave the way for other women in the field. Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Shakuntala Devi- Human Computer
The Indian mathematician Shakuntala Devi was born in 1929 in Bangalore, India. She displayed an unusual talent for mathematics at a very young age. She was given the opportunity to study with renowned mathematicians at the University of Mysore.
Shakuntala Devi went on to earn a degree in mathematics from the University of Calcutta and establish herself as a world-renowned mathematician. In 1977, she set the world record for mental calculation by correctly multiplying two 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds.
Her mathematical prowess was especially commendable because she was completely self-taught; she had no access to formal education. Even more impressive was her ability to do complex calculations in her head without the aid of any mechanical devices.
This feat earned her the nickname “human computer”. Many institutions recognized Shakuntala Devi’s genius, and she was conferred with numerous awards and honours throughout her lifetime. She also wrote a number of books on mathematics, including The World of Homosexuals and Figures of Fun.
She passed away in 2013, but her legacy continues to inspire mathematicians worldwide.
2. Dr. Neena Gupta- Professor of Mathematics
Dr Neena Gupta is an Indian mathematician who has made significant contributions to the field of number theory. Born in India, she received her doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1968.
After working at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, she returned to India in 2004 for a position at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Dr Gupta is best known for her work on modular forms, particularly her proof of the Atkin-Lehner conjecture.
In addition to her research work, she has also taught mathematics at various institutions, including the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Harish-Chandra Research Institute. Dr Gupta has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Science and Technology.
3. Raman Parimala- First Woman Algebraist in India
Raman Parimala is one of India’s most accomplished mathematicians. She has made significant contributions to algebraic geometry, and her work has helped shape the modern field of arithmetic algebraic geometry. Parimala was born in 1958 in Kerala, India.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kerala in 1976 and her master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1978. She then pursued a PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which she received in 1984.
After stints as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Parimala returned to India in 2001 for a Tata Institute of Fundamental Research position. Parimala has been honoured with many prestigious awards, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, the Infosys Prize, and the Padma Bhushan.
4. Sujatha Ramdorai- Mathematician in Residence at University of Oxford
Sujatha Ramdorai is a renowned Indian mathematician who has made significant contributions to number theory and geometry. Born in Chennai in 1966, she earned her PhD from the University of Kerala in 1992.
After spending several years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, she returned to India to take a position at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Since then, she has held various positions at TIFR and other institutions and is currently a Professor at the Chennai Mathematical Institute.
Ramdorai’s research focuses on areas such as arithmetic algebraic geometry, automorphic forms, and p-adic cohomology. She has received numerous awards and honours for her work, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology.
5. Mangala Narlikar- Professor of Mathematics
Mangala Narlikar is considered one of the greatest Indian mathematicians, and for a good reason. Born in 1929, she was educated at the University of Mumbai and later earned a PhD from Cambridge University. Narlikar has made significant contributions to the field of algebra, including her work on nilpotent groups and Lie algebras. She has also worked on the theory of functions of several complex variables. Her textbook on the subject is considered a classic.
In addition to her mathematical achievements, Narlikar is also an accomplished writer and translator and has authored several popular books on mathematics. Her work has been widely recognized within the mathematical community, and she was awarded the prestigious Ramanujan Prize in 2009.
6. Vasanti N. Bhat-Nayak- Professor of Mathematics
Vasanti N. Bhat-Nayak was born on November 8, 1929, in India. After completing her secondary education, she attended Baroda University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She then received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Mumbai. In 1958, she married fellow mathematician Dattatraya Bhat-Nayak, with whom she would have three children.
Bhat-Nayak began her career as a research assistant at Baroda University. She then held positions at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences before becoming a professor at the University of Mumbai in 1970. She held this position until her retirement in 1994.
During her career, Bhat-Nayak made significant contributions to the field of number theory, particularly in the area of Diophantine equations. She also authored a number of books and papers on mathematics and was awarded the Ramanujan Prize in 2006.
7. T. A. Sarasvati Amma- First woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences
T. A. Sarasvati Amma was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to number theory and algebra. Born in Kerala in 1909, she began her studies at the University of Madras. She quickly gained a reputation as a brilliant student.
After obtaining her PhD in mathematics, she went on to teach at several prestigious institutions, including the Indian Institute of Technology and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
In addition to her academic work, Amma also wrote a number of popular books on mathematics, including a highly acclaimed text on algebra. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, in 1975. Sarasvati Amma died in 1996, but her legacy continues to inspire mathematicians worldwide.
8. Vanaja Iyengar- Researcher in Knot Theory
Vanaja Iyengar was born on January 10, 1929, in a small village in India. Her father was a schoolteacher, and her mother was a homemaker. From an early age, Vanaja displayed a great aptitude for mathematics. She excelled in her studies and obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mysore.
After graduation, she began working as a research assistant at the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta. In 1957, she became the first woman to earn a PhD in mathematics from the Institute. Throughout her career, Vanaja made significant contributions to number theory and combinatorics.
She also served as the Chief Editor of the Journal of Combinatorial Theory from 1971 to 1974. Vanaja retired from the Indian Statistical Institute in 1989 but continues to do research in knot theory.
9. Bhama Srinivasan- First Indian Female Mathematician
Bhama Srinivasan was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to the field of number theory. She was born in 1931 in Tamil Nadu, India, and she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Madras in 1952.
She went on to earn her doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 1958, becoming the first Indian woman to do so. After completing her studies, Srinivasan returned to India and joined the Institute of Mathematical Sciences faculty in Chennai.
Srinivasan is best known for her work on Waring’s problem, a longstanding open question in number theory. In 1965, she proved that every natural number is the sum of at most 19 cubes, a significant improvement on the previous bound of 33. Srinivasan died in 2013, but her work continues to be an important part of number theory research.
10. Radha Kessar- Professor of Pure Mathematics
Radha Kessar is widely considered the most extraordinary Indian female mathematician. Born in Chennai, India, in 1954, she showed an aptitude for mathematics at a young age. She went on to study at the University of Madras, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
After graduation, she worked as a research associate at the Mathematical Sciences Institute in Chennai. In 1982, she joined the faculty of the University of Waterloo in Canada. There, she made significant contributions to the field of algebra, particularly in the area of finite groups. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious AMS-MAA-SIAM Morgan Award for outstanding mathematics research by a young mathematician.
Radha Kessar has made numerous other contributions to the mathematical community. She is currently a professor of pure mathematics at the City University of New York.
India has a long and proud history of mathematical achievement, with some of the brightest minds in history hailing from this great nation. These 22 mathematicians are just a small sampling of the brilliance that has come out of India over the years. We hope you have enjoyed learning about their contributions as much as we enjoyed writing about them!