Bhaskara (1114 - 1185)

Born around the area of present day Mysore, Bhaskara went on to become head of the renowned Indian institute at Ujjain. Brahmagupta had previously worked here, and Bhaskara went on to develop many of his ideas.

He is now considered one of the finest Indian mathematicians and probably the world’s greatest 12th century mathematician. His books were written as poetry with prose explanations, but the ideas behind them form the basis of modern mathematics.

He reached an understanding of number systems and solving equations which was not equalled for many centuries. He was the first to use, fully and systematically, the decimal place system and more fully than Brahmagupta was able to take on the meaning of division by zero. He anticipated modern mathematicians use of signs and was first to use letters to represent unknown quantities.

He worked in many fields compiling earlier problems and commentating on them, did great astronomical work, gave a general solution to Pell’s equation and proved Pythagoras’ theorem.

His work has a poignant note to it. The famous book the Lilavati was apparently written to console his daughter. Bhaskara calculated that his daughter should, according to the stars be married at a certain time on a certain day. A pearl falling into a waterclock and altering the time of her marraige, ruined her chance of marital happiness, and to console his spinster daughter, Bhaskara named his book for her.