Posted by : Shoumik Das Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hi there,

If you would ask me to vote for the most horrifying part of mathematics in school, I wouldn't bat an eyelid before screaming : Square-root ! A common Maths joke is illustrated below:

For me, and for countless other school-children, determination of Square Root of a given number (running into numerous digits) would always prove an arduous task. Thank God we are allowed to use Calculators in colleges!

The standard method taught was that of the long division, shown below:
But did you know that the method to determine a Square root was devised by Aryabhatta, as early as 475 AD? Though the knowledge of Square roots existed in India from the BC ages, proof of the method is given in Aryabhatta's celebrated work, Aryabhatiyam. The relevant Sloka is given below:

Translated into English, it says:

Divide the Non-square place by twice the Square Root of the Square place, then subtract the Square from the next Square place.

Thus, a definitive method of finding the Square root was expounded by the great Indian mathematician and astronomer, Aryabhatta.

Till next time,

Shoumik Das

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