When you hear the word “science genius”, the first names that could come into your mind are the most popular names, like Newton, Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein. Buried beneath these popular science geniuses, however, are the names of other geniuses that have been forgotten by most of us. Tom Siegfried lists ten names of unsung geniuses over at Nautilus. Why don’t you check them out? For now, here’s Brahmagupta, one of the unsung geniuses on the list.
A prominent astronomer, Brahmagupta wrote an extensive treatise covering such topics as the motions of the planets, eclipses, and the phases of the moon. But his genius emerged most prominently in mathematics. He introduced the idea of zero as a number like any other and discussed how to calculate with it. He was also the first to explain negative numbers, a concept thought by the Greeks to be “absurd.” Brahmagupta pointed out that multiplying two negative numbers (he called them “debts”) produced a positive number (in his terminology, a “fortune”).
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