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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Complex Math of Common Folk Durable Link to this BLOG
Kolams - Complex Mathematics of Common Folk

Kolam (a.k.a. Rangoli, Alpana, Hase and by other names) is an ephemeral art form in India practiced by women in devotion to Goddess Laxmi.

The longer the women practice the Kolam, the more sophisticated patterns they can master, create and execute. One cannot but admire the geometrical and analytical skills of these women, many of whom are not educated at all.

Dr. Marcia Ascher explores the mathematical ideas in the tradition of Kolam in this month's issue of the American Scientist.

See Also:

Indians and Mathematics

I do not know why, but Indians have a natural appetite for mathematics. The Indians invented the concept of the zero, the decimal number system (called Indo-Arabic system), algebra, the game of chess etc., I continue to be amazed by how many people in India take up mathematics over other fields of education.

When I was in high school (11th and 12th grades), many people in my class knew the logarithmic tables by heart! (Log tables reduce the complex multiplications and divisions to simple additions and subtractions, so with the help of pencil and paper you can compute anything).

My uncle Tulasidas Kamat, is gifted with amazing arithmetic abilities. He is the checkout counter in our busy cloth shop in Honavar, and has never needed a calculator even when the number of items run into hundreds. He is never wrong! Customers and family members who don't trust his computations often list out the items only to find out that he's right to the last decimal.

In the Indian bazars you will see illiterate merchants perform multiplications, compute compound interests with no tools whatsoever (they cannot read or write).

How do they do it?

Meanwhile, Call for Action on Terrorist Front...

BBC: India Considering Attack

India better act fast before the thugs from Afghanistan infiltrate the borders as suggested in some media. Pakistan really cannot do anything at this time.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, December 17, 2001
Last Modified: 1/26/2003

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