Kim Plofker's research while affiliated with Union College and other places

Publications (21)

Chapter
Professor Radha Charan Gupta, who founded and nurtured Gaṇita Bhāratī as editor for over a quarter century, was awarded the Kenneth 0. May prize of 2009, jointly with Prof. Ivor Grattan—Guinness of UK—by the International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM).
Chapter
Telling time by the length of gnomon shadows is a very ancient practice. Prior to the development of spherical cosmological models and accompanying trigonometric techniques in the last few centuries bce, such computations relied on non-trigonometric algorithms approximately relating shadow lengths to time and geographic location.
Chapter
Hitherto we have discussed the content and structure of Sanskrit astronomical tables abstracted from their physical embodiment in manuscripts. In this chapter we consider the manuscripts themselves: their overall position within the corpus of Sanskrit jyotiṣa and the scribal conventions that characterize them.
Chapter
The previous overview reinforces our original impression that the proliferation of table texts was one of the most important developments in Sanskrit astronomy in the second millennium. The flexible and innovative construction of sāraṇı̄s increased computational convenience and efficiency for their users as well as affording new outlets for the cre...
Book
This groundbreaking volume provides an up-to-date, accessible guide to Sanskrit astronomical tables and their analysis. It begins with an overview of Indian mathematical astronomy and its literature, including table texts, in the context of history of pre-modern astronomy. It then discusses the primary mathematical astronomy content of table texts...
Chapter
The canonical structure and sequence of astronomical topics as represented in most major siddhānta and karaṇa works (see Section 1.4) are modified in the table-text genre in a number of different ways.
Chapter
In this chapter we broadly outline two different aspects of the genre of Sanskrit astronomical table texts: the mathematical models underlying their construction and the chief approaches to their taxonomy. We begin by explaining in more detail the algorithms and models that were briefly outlined in Section 1.2.2. The subsequent section broadly surv...
Chapter
The early development of Sanskrit astronomical tables described in Section 1.5 blossomed by the mid-second millennium into the profuse variety of table-text types categorized in Section 2.3, whose typical components were analyzed in more detail in Chapter 4. As numerical tables became more central to the work of astronomers/astrologers, the mathema...
Article
Full-text available
Popular attention has recently been captured by the results of the Bodleian Library's 2017 project of radiocarbon datingportions of the birch-bark fragments constituting what is known as the Bakhshālī Manuscript. In this paper, we disagree with the interpretation of the findings announced by the Bodleian team. In particular, we argue that the earli...
Article
Full-text available
We present here a critical edition of the numerical tables of the Karaṇakesarī, an eclipse-computation table-text authored by Bhāskara in the laer half of the 17th century, and known to us from three manuscripts.
Article
Astronomy in South Asia's Sanskrit tradition, apparently originating in simple calendric computations regulating the timing of ancient ritual practices, expanded over the course of two or three millennia to include detailed spherical models, an endless variety of astrological systems, and academic mathematics in general. Assimilating various techni...
Article
Critical edition, translation and commentary for the verse instructions accompanying a late seventeenth-century set of eclipse tables in Sanskrit by Bhāskara of Saudāmikā (fl. 1681).
Article
The Sanskrit term ‘Yavana’, originally a transliteration of ‘Ionian (Greek)’ but later applied to other foreigners as well, was used throughout the common era to designate various foreign importations in the exact sciences. Likewise, the name ‘Indian’ was attached to several mathematical concepts and techniques in the Islamic world (as well as Euro...
Article
Pre-modern Asia's diverse intellectual traditions shared a scientific enterprise in the development of mathematical astronomy and astrology. Inspired by the prospect of foretelling the future, and by the mathematical beauty of heavenly motions, scholars in the dominant cultures of Asia and Europe constructed a remarkably complex system of calculati...

Citations

... The most comprehensive work on the history of mathematics in India is by Plofker (2009), to which readers are referred to for further information, with references, on most of the points discussed here. Classic and more recent contributions include: Bag (1979), Colebrooke ([1817Colebrooke ([ ] 1973, Singh 1962 [1935]), Delire (2016), Filliozat (2004, Hayashi (1994Hayashi ( , 1995aHayashi ( , 2003Hayashi ( , 2013, Joseph (2011), Kaye (1908Kaye ( , 1915Kaye ( , 1927Kaye ( -1933, Keller (2006 and, Kusuba (1993), Kusuba and Plofker (2013), Patte (2004), , Plofker (2007), Plofker et al. (2017), SaKHYa (2009), Sarasvati Amma (1979), Sarma (2003 and), Sen and Bag (1983), Shukla (1959), Srinivasiengar (1967), Staal (1999Staal ( , 2006, and Thibaut (1875). The reader interested in the history of Indian mathematical astronomy in the Indian subcontinent can refer to the numerous publications by Montelle and Plofker. 2 The term jyotiṣa refers to a mix of astronomy, astrology, and calendrics; a thorough history of jyotiḥśāstra literature is found in . ...
... Pingree gives the closing verses of the Daivajñālaṃkṛti from an unspecified source, which differs in places from the two manuscripts that I have had the opportunity to examine. 3 The readings of Pingree's source are generally preferable, and I reproduce them below with only minor corrections on the basis of manuscript evidence and with my own translations. The first five verses read: lakṣmīr yasya pratene svayam acalam ihācandratāraṃ niveśaṃ yasmin muktāḥ phalanti praguṇataragaṇā doṣapaṅktyā vimuktāḥ| yasmin viśrāmabhājaḥ paramapṛthutaraśreṇayaḥ sajjanānāṃ so 'yaṃ prāgvāṭavaṃśo jagati vijayate 'nalpaśākhāviśālī|| Victory in the world to that Prāgvāṭa dynasty, great with numerous branches, for which Lakṣmī herself provided an enduring dwellingplace for as long as the moon and stars shall last, here where pearls ripen in most excellent multitudes, free of any blemish, and where the most abundant guilds (śreṇi) of good men enjoy their peace! 1 See Pingree 1997;Sarma 2000;Gansten and Wikander 2011;Plofker 2011;Gansten 2012, 2014. 2 Pingree 1970-1994: A3 89a. The same information is repeated in Pingree 1981Pingree : 99, 130, 1997 These are Kerala 7758 (K), the earliest manuscript listed by Pingree, copied on 7 December, 1525, and a Nepalese manuscript microfilmed by the Nepalese-German Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP), microfilm A414/21 (N), not listed by Pingree, undated. ...