• Document: ARTICLE RADHANATH SIKDAR FIRST SCIENTIST OF MODERN INDIA UTPAL MUKHOPADHYAY* In the first half of 19th century, a group of courageous young men of Bengal under the leadership of Henry Loui...
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ARTICLE RADHANATH SIKDAR FIRST SCIENTIST OF MODERN INDIA UTPAL MUKHOPADHYAY* I n the first half of 19th century, a group of courageous unknown till now. Radhanath was the eldest of two sons young men of Bengal under the leadership of Henry (younger son was Srinath) and three daughters of Tituram. Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-1831) fought against Due to financial difficulties, both Radhanath and Srinath various social injustices and superstitions prevailing at that had to struggle hard for continuing their studies. However, time. Radhanath Sikdar was the only person of this ‘Young being meritorious, both of them earned scholarships. Bengal’ group who acquired expertise in mathematics and Radhanath used to spend most of the money from his physical sciences. Among the Derozians, Radhanath was a scholarship for purchasing books while the family was pioneer of scientific research in modern India. The bi- maintained largely by Srinath’s scholarship. Radhanath centenary of this great Indian falls this year. The motivation received his primary education initially in a village school of this article is to make the readers aware of this little- or pathsala and then in a school set up by a native Christian known but talented Indian and pay tribute to him. named Kamal Basu. In the year 1824, Radhanath entered of the Hindu College (now Presidency University) of Kolkata. In 1830, he started learning mathematics from Professor John Tytler, a renowned professor of mathematics of Hindu College. In that year, Radhanath read first part of Newton’s Principia under the guidance of professor Tytler. Incidentally, Radhanath Sikdar and Rajnarayan Basak were the first two Indians to go through Principia. Apart from that book, in the period between 1828 and 1832, Radhanath studied Euclid’s Elements, Windhouse’s Analytical Geometry and Astronomy, and Jephson’s Fluxion for learning mathematics. As a college student, Radhanath devised a new method for drawing common tangent to two circles. This work of Radhanath was published as a research article in Gleanings in Science (Vol. III, 1831) and the Editor of that journal commented: “A good deal having Radhanath Sikdar appeared in the public prints lately, respecting the Hindoo Radhanath, son of Tituram Sikdar, was born in College, it may not be uninteresting to publish the October 1813 (the date is unknown) at Jorasanko (famous accompanying solution of a geometrical problem by one as the birthplace of Rabindranath Tagore) in Calcutta (now of the pupils there, Radhanath Sikdar. The solution is Kolkata). Unfortunately, his mother’s name has remained altogether his own discovery, and I have not altered a word in his composition.” (bold face by the author). This * Satyabharati Vidyapith, P. O.–Nabapally, Dist.–North 24 proved Radhanath’s efficiency in mathematics since his Parganas, Kolkata–700 126 West Bengal, E-mail : early days. Apart from mathematics, Radhanath acquired utpalsbv@gmail.com, Reprinted from Dream 2047, July 2013, sound knowledge of English, Sanskrit, and Philosophy. He Vol. 15 No. 10. also learnt Greek and Latin to some extent. In fact, Tytler 142 SCIENCE AND CULTURE, MAY-JUNE, 2014 himself had deep

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