Physics

Write the biography of Varamihira and explain the scientific works of Varamihira in detail ?


SOLUTION
Varahmihira was born in 499 A.D., in a family of Brahmins, settled at Kapittha, a village near Ujjain. His father, Adityadasa was a worshipper of the god Sun and it was he, who taught Varahamihira, astrology. On a visit to Kusumapura (Patna), young Varahamihira met the great astronomer and mathematician, Aryabhatta. The meeting inspired him so much, that he decided to take up astrology and astronomy as a lifetime pursuit. At that time, Ujjain was the centre of learning, where many schools of arts, science and culture were flourishing, in the prosperity of the Gupta reign. Varahamihira therefore, shifted to this city, where scholars from distant lands were gathering.
In due course, his astrological skills came to the notice of Vikramaditya Chandragupta II, who made him, one of the Nine Gems of his court. Varahamihira’s mathematical work included the discovery of the trigonometric formulas. He improved the accuracy of the sine tables of Aryabhata-I. He defined the algebraic properties of zero as well as that of negative numbers. Furthermore, he was among the first mathematicians, to discover a version of what is now known as Pascal’s triangle. He used it to calculate the binomial coefficients.
His treatise such as Pancha Siddhantika (Five Principles), Brihatsamhita (Master collection), Brahjataka (Astrological work) have put him on as high a pedestal in Astrology, as Kautilya’s in Political philosophy, Manu’s in Law or Panini’s in Grammar.
Varahamihira’s main work is the book Pancha Siddhantika (“Treatise on the five Astronomical Canon’s which gives information about old Indian texts, which are now lost). The work seems to be a treastise on mathematical astronomy and it summarises five earlier astronomical treatises, namely, the Surya Siddhanta.
Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitama Siddhanta. Panch Siddhanta holds a prominent place, in the realms of astronomy.
Varahamihira was learned in the Vedas, but he was not a blind believer in the supernatural. He was a scientist. Like Aryabhatta before him, he declared that the earth was spherical. In the history of science, he was the first to claim that some “Force” might be keeping bodies stuck to the round earth. The force is now called gravity.
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