Tag: India

Ancient Text Reveals Earliest Known Understanding Of Zero

The concept of zero is so deeply engrained in our culture that it is hard to imagine not having it. Yet most ancient cultures never came up with the idea, greatly to the detriment of their mathematical development. We don’t know exactly when the idea first appeared, but re-analysis of a nearly 2,000-year-old Indian manuscript has taken us closer to this crucial point.

The Bakhshali manuscript is written on pieces of birch bark and was found buried in a field outside the village of Bakhshali, Pakistan, in 1881. It has been housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, since 1902. It contains hundreds of zero symbols, and clearly represents one of the oldest surviving references to this concept. However, its age has been in doubt, with estimates based on writing style placing it around the year 800.

Testing of three samples in the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit revealed that the manuscript, rather than having a single origin, was created in pieces centuries apart. The earliest measured section dates to somewhere between 224 and 383 AD, while additions were made in 680-779 and 885-993 AD. The last date roughly aligns with other examples we have of the dot symbol, which gradually evolved into our 0, being used to indicate absence. However, the earlier dates are well outside expectations.

The fact the manuscript remained in use for so long, and was expanded at least twice centuries later, indicates its status, probably as a training manual. It is filled with examples of practical arithmetic and algebra. Oxford’s Professor Marcus du Sautoy told The Guardian: “There’s a lot of ‘If someone buys this and sells this how much have they got left?’”

“Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics,” du Sautoy said in a statement. “We now know that it was as early as the 3rd century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world. The findings show how vibrant mathematics have been in the Indian sub-continent for centuries.”

Both the Babylonians and Mayans had symbols for nothing, but it was only when the Indians developed the idea that its mathematical power was realized. Even then, the placeholding dot took centuries to evolve into the concept that zero could be a number.

Arab traders spread the idea from India, but it faced considerable resistance upon its arrival in Europe, even facing attempts to ban it as heresy.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/starting-from-zero-earliest-symbol-of-nothing-found/

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Five Teams Enter Final Stretch To Win Google Lunar XPRIZE Moon Race And Scoop $20 Million

And then there were five. From an initial 16 teams, five have moved ahead into the final stages of the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a competition to launch and land a rover on the Moon by the end of 2017.

The finalists herald from around the world, in Israel, the US, India, and Japan. All of them have launch contracts on various rockets, in an attempt to scoop the $20 million prize money. The first teams rover to travel 500 meters (1,640 feet) on the lunar surface will scoop the prize, with various other technical bonuses available.

Each of these teams has pushed the boundaries to demonstrate that you dont have to be a government superpower to send a mission to the Moon, while inspiring audiences to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director of Google Lunar XPRIZE, in a statement.

The competition began in 2007, and the teams that entered had until December 31, 2016, to get a launch contract, which 11 teams did not manage including German team Part-Time Scientists, who were seemingly on the cusp of doing so. Now, those with launch contracts haveuntil December 31, 2017, to actually launch although they can land on the Moon at a later date, as long as they have launched before then.

XPRIZE also announced there would be an additional $1 million Diversity Prize split among the 16 teams to recognize each of their unique approaches and initiatives over the years, said Gonzales-Mowrer.

Part-Time Scientists had hoped to revisit the Apollo 17 landing site with their rover (illustrated). PTScientists

Of the five finalists, only three have launch contracts on tried and tested rockets. One of these is SpaceIL from Israel, which plans to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Another, Team Indus from India, is planning to launch on the Indian Space Research Organizations Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). And Hakuto, from Japan, plans to hitch a ride with Team Indus.

The other two have contracts with companies that are yet to launch a rocket perhaps making them relative outsiders to win the competition. One is American team Moon Express, which has a multi-mission contract with Rocket Lab USA to launch three missions by 2020. The final team, an international endeavor called Synergy Moon run by Interorbital Systems, hopes to launch on their own Neptune 8 rocket, which would launch from the sea.

Theres plenty of cause for excitement, though. Its looking more and more likely that some of these teams will actually launch by the years end. Whether they will be successful in landing on the Moon or not remains to be seen none have experience indoing so.

But if they do make it, well, we might very well have an old-fashioned Moon race on our hands before the year is out.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/five-teams-enter-final-stretch-to-win-google-lunar-xprize-moon-race-and-scoop-20-million/

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Five Teams Enter Final Stretch To Win Google Lunar XPRIZE Moon Race And Scoop $20 Million

And then there were five. From an initial 16 teams, five have moved ahead into the final stages of the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a competition to launch and land a rover on the Moon by the end of 2017.

The finalists herald from around the world, in Israel, the US, India, and Japan. All of them have launch contracts on various rockets, in an attempt to scoop the $20 million prize money. The first teams rover to travel 500 meters (1,640 feet) on the lunar surface will scoop the prize, with various other technical bonuses available.

Each of these teams has pushed the boundaries to demonstrate that you dont have to be a government superpower to send a mission to the Moon, while inspiring audiences to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, said Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer, senior director of Google Lunar XPRIZE, in a statement.

The competition began in 2007, and the teams that entered had until December 31, 2016, to get a launch contract, which 11 teams did not manage including German team Part-Time Scientists, who were seemingly on the cusp of doing so. Now, those with launch contracts haveuntil December 31, 2017, to actually launch although they can land on the Moon at a later date, as long as they have launched before then.

XPRIZE also announced there would be an additional $1 million Diversity Prize split among the 16 teams to recognize each of their unique approaches and initiatives over the years, said Gonzales-Mowrer.

Part-Time Scientists had hoped to revisit the Apollo 17 landing site with their rover (illustrated). PTScientists

Of the five finalists, only three have launch contracts on tried and tested rockets. One of these is SpaceIL from Israel, which plans to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Another, Team Indus from India, is planning to launch on the Indian Space Research Organizations Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). And Hakuto, from Japan, plans to hitch a ride with Team Indus.

The other two have contracts with companies that are yet to launch a rocket perhaps making them relative outsiders to win the competition. One is American team Moon Express, which has a multi-mission contract with Rocket Lab USA to launch three missions by 2020. The final team, an international endeavor called Synergy Moon run by Interorbital Systems, hopes to launch on their own Neptune 8 rocket, which would launch from the sea.

Theres plenty of cause for excitement, though. Its looking more and more likely that some of these teams will actually launch by the years end. Whether they will be successful in landing on the Moon or not remains to be seen none have experience indoing so.

But if they do make it, well, we might very well have an old-fashioned Moon race on our hands before the year is out.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/five-teams-enter-final-stretch-to-win-google-lunar-xprize-moon-race-and-scoop-20-million/

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Mental Math – Tricks or Real Help

Mental Math  Рis it a trick or can it truly help your child to learn math?

I found this article from article dashboard and wanted to share it with you. It discusses 2 methods that are currently being used in Asia.

Mental Math Methods From Asia

First of all, let us figure out what exactly is mental math. Today if you search the phrase “mental math” you will probably end up with millions of options. Not exactly that makes your life easy; instead it builds up and strengthens your curiosity. Put in simplest terms, mental math can be defined as calculations performed in your head – mentally – without help of any external device be it as simple as pen and paper or any modern day device such as calculator, computer or any other electronic gadget.

We humans perform mental mathematical calculations everyday, consciously and unconsciously. When you are driving you figure out when to apply brakes to bring the vehicle to stop before hitting something. You figure out time difference between east coast and west coast. But where we falter is at the simplest and most mundane of calculations. Go to a restaurant and figure out 18% gratuity.

Abacus Mental Mathematics

What is abacus mental mathematics? Origin of Abacus is highly disputed today, some say it originated in Mesopotamia and some claim to be in China. Over centuries, abacus has evolved in to various different forms and sizes. The most commonly used is the Japanese Soroban Abacus.

The Soroban Abacus consists of one upper row and four lower rows and columns vary from thirteen, fifteen, seventeen or twenty one. It is claimed and proven by many researchers in Asia that Abacus stimulates whole brain development. When children use both hands to move the abacus beads to perform arithmetic calculations, there is quick communication between the hands and the brain that stimulates both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This promotes rapid, balanced whole brain development.

If a child starts learning the abacus before being taught traditional arithmetic, there is minimal conflict and the child will easily work within both systems. If a child starts the program later, having already received traditional foundations, there may be a slightly extended learning period for the child to accept and integrate the abacus method.

Vedic Mental Mathematics

What is Vedic mental mathematics? Origin of Vedic Mathematics is in Atharva Veda (Holy Scripture from Hinduism). Vedic mathematics is a system based on sixteen sutras (aphorisms) which are actually word-formulae describing natural ways of solving a whole range of mathematical problems. These formulae describe the way the mind naturally works and are therefore a great help in directing the student to the appropriate method of solution.

It is claimed and proven by many researchers in Asia that practice and use of Vedic mathematics helps the person in many different aspects of decision making. From intelligent guessing to thinking outside the box ability. Vedic mathematics has its applications to much advanced mathematics, such as calculus and linear algebra. The sixteen sutras are: By one more than the one before, All from 9 and the last from 10, Vertically and crosswise, Transpose and apply, If the Samuccaya is the same it is zero, If one is in ratio the other is zero, By addition and by subtraction, By the completion or non-completion, Differential calculus, By the deficiency, Specific and general, The remainders by the last digit, The ultimate and twice the penultimate, By one less than the one before, The product of the sum, and All the multipliers

Today, both these methods have made a come back in Asia. Abacus Mental Math method is extremely popular in nations of China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Korea and India whereas Vedic Mental Math method is extremely popular only in India.

By: Shilpa Rao

Shilpa Rao is an experienced mental math tutor. Learn more about abacus math and vedic math

So it appears that mental math can truly help your child.

What do you think?

 

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