Monthly Archives: November 1999

Scientist of the Millennium

VERITAS has chosen the scientist of the Millennium : Sir Issac Newton


 Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in the Night  God said : Let Newton be and all was light .


 Newtons was one of History’s Greatest Thinkers. His influence on

 Physics,Mathematics and Astronomy is immeasurable.


 Born on 25 Dec 1642 in a farmhouse in Lincolshire Newton was a

 premature and tiny baby . His father had died three months before his

 birth . He was an average student in school . Newton’s mother remmarried

 and Newton started living with his grandmother .


 He went to Cambridge for highher studies and was influenced deeply

  by Issac Barrow ( the prof of Mathematics ) . in 1665 when Newton

 was 23 yrs old plague broke out in england and Newton went to his village

 to avoid it . He spend 1.5 yrs of seclusion in a cottage .


 These 1.5 yrs were to change the face of Physics and Mathematics .

 These were the most productive year and half of human thought.

 In these 1.5 yrs Newton did this :


 Proved Binomial Theorem

 Developed differential and Integral calculus

 developed vector algebra

 stated the laws of motion

 explained gravitation

 began the study of optics( colot theory , nature of light , reflecting

 telescopes )


 WOW !! What a super guy .


 It is said that Newton developed Calculus only to prove that for

 a uniform spherical body the mass can be supposed to be concentrated

 at the centre .


 Newton proposed the particle theory of light .

 in 1669 Newton became the Prof of Mathematics at Cambridge .


 AFter that Newton had some disputes with Wren , Hooke . But Newton

 won all of them . Halley using Newton’s theory of Gravity discovered

 the Halley’s comet.


 In 1687 Newton published the Princpia Mathematica . The great book

 containing his unified theory of mechanics , gravitation ,

 explanation of Keplers laws , pllanetary motion , tides etc .


 in 1690 Newton had a nervous breakdown and never returned to science

 again . But the genius was still alive .


 He became the Master of the Mint in 1699 and the Member of Parliament

 in 1689 and 1701 . He was Knighted in 1705 .


 Newton was an exceptional person . He never married and had no known

 love affair . He spent most of his time alone . His powers of

 concentrate were great and could think about just one thing for

 days  on an end . He never created for the sake of publishing .

 He loved his work . Curiosity .. that is the word .


  Newton crystallized the scientific revolution . Great Scientist .


  VERITAS’s scientist of the Millennium

Japanese Temple Geometry

From 1639 to 1854 the Japanese lived in strict , self imposed isolation

   from the west . They thought that western influence may spoil their

   culture . During this period a kind of native Mathematics flourished

   in Japan . It is called Sangaku or Japanese Temple Geometry .


   Devotees of Maths , mostly samurai, merchants and farmers would solve

   a wide variety of maths problems and inscribe their effors in

   delicately colored wooden tablets and hang the works under the roofs

   of temples . These were to show other visitors what thay had done

   and to say ” Can u solve this one baby ?? “


   Some of these problems are so complicated that they cannot be solved

   without calculus . ANd western researchers are still wondering how the

   Japanese did it ( calculus is a western invention ) .


   The greatest Japanese mathematician at that time was Seki ( 1642- 1718)

   He independently inventes theory of determinants , solution of high

   equations, and a kind of calculus .


   The Sangaku is very beautiful . Circles and ellipses play a prominent

   role in it . Circles in ellipses , and other combinations .


   And the great thisn is that all this Math was done be amateurs. The

   Japenese thought of Maths as an art form , like poetry and painting.

   They combined these and Sangaku arose .


   Imagine this : A samurai warrior , after the day is over and he has

   sharpened his sword would retire to his study , light an oil lamp

   and lose the world to an intricate problem solvinng spheres and ellipsoids.

   Perhaps he would spend days meditating on the problem . ANd then when

   satisfied with the result would makke a beutiful picture of  the

   theorem and hang it on the ceiling of the local temple . An offering

   to the gods .


   This would be just wonderful . Scientific spirit and love for science

   at its best 🙂