Monday, August 4, 2008

Number System

  • The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 1053 with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today,the largest used number is Tera: 10 power 12.
  • The system of numbers that we use today, with each number having an absolute value and a place value (units, tens, hundreds, and so forth) originated in India.
  • Mathematicians in India also were the first to recognize zero as both an integer and a placeholder.
  • The Indian mathematical masterpieces and those of the Greeks were translated into Arabic in centers of Islamic learning, where mathematical discoveries continued during the period known in the West as the Middle Ages.
  • When the Indian numeration system was developed is not known, but digits similar to the Arabic numerals used today have been found in a Hindu temple built about 250 bc.
  • Mathematics in India was largely a tool for astronomy, yet Indian mathematicians discovered a number of important concepts.

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