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Lilavati was a mathematician and follower of her father Bhaskaracharya, the medieval mathematician, who codified Indian mathematics and described operations upon the zero, and whose work influenced later Arab mathematicians who took the science to Europe. The first part of his Siddhanta Shiromani, the ‘Patiganita’ dealing with arithmetic, is often called the ‘Lilavati’ after his daughter. In this, Bhaskara’s theories are presented in the form of a dialogue with his daughter, and it is clear from the text that she was an accomplished mathematician in her own right. Legend has it that she became a widow very young and Bhaskara, having tried to prevent her widowhood by astrological means, thereafter consoled her by teaching her his skills. Bhaskara’s theories were far ahead of corresponding European thought on the subject and were only surpassed in the eighteenth century in the West.
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