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IBM's Old Print Ad Hailing Indian Mathematicians For Giving Meaning To The Meaningless Has Gone Viral

Written By Monica Aggarwal | Mumbai | Published:

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  • IBM released an advertising in the year 1974, in which it hailed praises for some of the most renowned historic Indian mathematicians
  • IBM had explained 'How India gave the world the logic of indeterminate equations' by naming Aryabhata, Bhaskara and Brahmagupta

One of the largest computer manufacturing companies in the world, International Business Machines, popularly known as IBM, released an advertising in the year 1973, in which it hailed praises for some of the most renowned Indian mathematicians in the history.

During the period when the West was assuming that Algebra was introduced by the Arabs, IBM published print ads in international newspapers in which it acknowledged the contributions made by the Indian mathematicians and explained that Algebra had actually originated in India.

In the advertisement, IBM had explained 'How India gave the world the logic of indeterminate equations' by naming three prominent historic mathematicians: Aryabhata, Bhaskara and Brahmagupta, who developed the concept of Algebra and gave meaning to something (Zero) which was termed to be meaningless before.

"History owes a debt to three Indian mathematicians of 1500 years ago who developed Algebra to give meaning to the meaningless.  Bhaskara, who originated the radical signs. Brahmagupta, who created the symbols. Aryabhata, who worked out the first equations. A search that continues today in new directions with newer tools, among them, a machine that helps man in more ways than any other inventions in history: the computer. We are proud that IBM introduced the manufacturing of computers and other data processing equipment in India, which are helping the nation meet the challenge of building a new tomorrow," reads the advertisement.

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The advertisement has been making the rounds on the social media currently. Have a look:

IBM's advertisement also features an excerpt 'The Poetry of Algebra' from the book Indian Wisdom by Sir Monier Monier-Williams.

Among the several contributions made by Aryabhata, he discovered the nine planets and found out the correct number of days in a year i.e. 365. Brahmagupta made one of the most significant contributions to mathematics when he introduced zero(0), which once stood for “nothing”. Bhāskara declared that any number divided by zero is infinity and that the sum of any number and infinity is also infinity. 

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