Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Researcher to study Indian scientific history

UC researcher and Rutherford Fellow to study Indian scientific history

November 20, 2012

Among the many exotic images India invokes, mathematics isn't usually one of them.

Yet India developed sophisticated and foundational mathematical concepts, including the place value base ten system and trigonometry functions that we use today.

Surprisingly little is known about the mathematics and related subjects of this rapidly growing international power. A University of Canterbury (UC) lecturer Dr Clemency Montelle yesterday received an $800,000 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship grant to look at the benefits of historical mathematics, astronomy and science in India. She will start her fellowship research early next year.

With an intellectual history spreading almost 3000 years, India has produced 30 million manuscripts over this period but very few of these have been identified and fewer still studied in any detail. For this and other reasons, India's intellectual contributions to science remain conspicuously absent from mainstream historical accounts.

``Given that this tradition is the direct scientific legacy of over a sixth of the world's population, rectifying this oversight is long overdue. I intend to remedy this.

``With expertise in ancient languages including Sanskrit and a broad mathematical background I will work with these ancient documents to make accessible their contents to researchers all over the world.

``This culture of inquiry produced mathematics in contrasting circumstances to the West which led to some distinctly different scientific priorities and insights. Recent scholars have dismissed these achievements because they don't resemble what they deem to be the exacting standards of western styles of proof and demonstration.

``However with the emergence of new fields of research in science, we are beginning to realise just how pertinent all of this material is.

``By careful study and collation of key manuscripts, translations and technical commentaries of the scientific content, and broad contextualisation of the ideas contained within, we will be in a better position to understand the key contributions of this culture to the flourishing of science.’’

As New Zealand seeks to strengthen its relations with the India, the ramifications of contributing to its heritage and efforts to preserve and make accessible its historic resources cannot be underestimated.

Sharing knowledge and expertise is a significant way to forge new and lasting relations between nations and enhances mutual understanding and cooperation in many spheres, Dr Montelle said.

``This is a unique opportunity for the University of Canterbury to assume a lead role in such research and I will forge new and important relationships with key Indian tertiary institutions such as IIT-Mumbai and the Chennai Mathematical Institute.’’

Her project is in the spirit of recent governmental strategies to enhance educational links with India. The new NZ-India Research Institute has been welcomed by Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce. The inaugural meeting of the India-New Zealand Education Council in Delhi recently discussed how to boost cooperation between the two nations.

| website: www.canterbury.ac.nz

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Electric Sheep: Light Nelson Exceeds All Expectations

Light Nelson exceeded all expectations drawing over 40,000 people over two nights to the Queens Gardens and surrounds. The event, with over 40 installations from local and national artists, is in its second year, and organisers were hoping they’d top last year’s crowd of 16,000. More>>

MacGyver: Richard Dean Anderson To Attend Armageddon This October

New Zealand’s biggest pulp-culture event, the Armageddon Expo is proud to announce the world’s most recognised DIY action hero will be attending the Auckland event at the ASB Showgrounds from October 24th to 27th. More>>

ALSO:

Barbershop Gold: Māori Party Singing Praises Of The Musical Island Boys

The Maori Party has congratulated four young men on a mission, who in 2002 took up barbershop singing at Tawa College, and tonight took out the Gold Medal in the 2014 International Barbershop Harmony Society competitions in Las Vegas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news