Friday, 20 August 2010

International Congress of Mathematicians: Vedic Mathematics on ICM 2010 agenda - Prof MS Raghunathan says Vedic Maths is not interesting

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 19: Senior mathematician Prof MS Raghunathan on Thursday kicked off a major controversy at the International Congress of Mathematicians here by terming "Vedic Mathematics" as
Around 3,500 expert mathematicians from around the world are meeting over the quadrennial ICM-2010 which began here on Thursday. Many of the participants have expressed interest in India's contribution to mathematics including the use of decimal system and the discovery of cipher.
Though Prof Raghunathan acknowledges India's contribution to mathematics, he does not feel "Vedic Mathematics" as significant enough to seek a patent. "Vedic Mathematics is just a bag of calculations. It is not a system and is of no significant value," Prof Raghunathan, who is also the chairman of the local organising committee of ICM - 2010.
Prof Raghunathan is associated with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and has been arguing against the "dubious claims on behalf of Vedic Mathematics". He told reporters that it should not be taken quite
seriously. Prof Raghunathan was interacting with reporters during a press conference on the sidelines of the ICM.
Mathematicians are divided over the claims of Vedic Mathematics. Earlier during the NDA regime, Prof Raghunathan had signed a petition to the Central government wondering whether Vedic Mathematics is really ‘Vedic’ in origin or ‘Mathematics’ in content.
The group of mathematics professors noted "Vedic Mathematics" is neither vedic nor mathematics, The imposition of ‘Vedic maths’ will condemn particularly those dependent on public education to a sub-standard mathematical education and will be calamitous for them.

"The teaching of mathematics involves both imparting the basic concepts of the subject as well as methods of mathematical computations. The so-called ‘Vedic maths’ is entirely inadequate to this task since it is largely made up of tricks to do some elementary arithmetic computations. Its value is at best recreational and its pedagogical use limited".
They asserted that while many people may believe in astrology, this is in the realm of belief and is best left as part of personal faith. Acts of faith cannot be confused with the study and practice of science in the public sphere.

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