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Pratibha: promote study of mathematics to spread scientific temper

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President Pratibha Patil has underlined the need for promoting the study of mathematics among the younger generation as it inculcates the habit of rational thought in it and promotes, what the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, called “scientific temper.”

She said mathematics is a science, but stands apart from other sciences a bit. Yet it was mathematical intervention that would decisively confer the label, ‘science,' on any discipline. “Mathematics permeates all sciences. Mathematics used in technology is reaching higher and higher levels of sophistication.”

Ms. Patil inaugurated the International Congress of Mathematicians -2010 on Thursday, in the presence of stalwarts from across the globe who gathered here for the biggest mathematical event. She also gave away awards instituted by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) to those who made outstanding contributions.

She said the influence of mathematics on other fields grew tremendously; economics and social sciences, once considered impervious to mathematics, were increasingly coming under its influence. There was a need for understanding the importance of mathematics in all walks of life.

Ms. Patil recalled how India was at the forefront of contributing to innovations in arithmetic, algebra and geometry at different periods. The concept of zero, ‘shunya,' originated from India. Recalling the contributions made by early scholars such as Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya and Madhava, a 15{+t}{+h} century mathematician who anticipated the essentials of calculus, she said that after a somewhat dormant period of almost half-a- millennium, the revival of mathematical activity was triggered by the advent of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Since Independence, the country recognised the importance of science as a vehicle for progress and mathematics, the language of science, and its advancement was an integral part of India's science policy. “There is an aesthetic component to its pursuit, and it inculcates the habit of rational thinking,” Ms. Patil said. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said the State government recognised the importance of mathematics as a discipline as well as a tool in science and technology and many other practical matters. IMU president L. Lovasz said the congress was a forum for discussing important issues of mathematical laws.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 4:51:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Pratibha-promote-study-of-mathematics-to-spread-scientific-temper/article16138732.ece

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