1st International Vedic Mathematics Conference

28TH – 30TH DECEMBER 2016, ICCR, KOLKATA

INTRODUCTORY ANNOUNCEMENT FROM DR LOKESH CHANDRA,

PRESIDENT INDIAN COUNCIL FOR CULTURAL RELATIONS (ICCR)

Vedic Mathematics enshrines the intuition of His Holiness Shri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji who held the holy see of Sankaracharya of Puri. From five to six millennia ago complex mathematical calculations were formulated in the Sulba-sutras for the construction of Vedic chiti for sacred rites (yajna). Recent archeological discoveries take the depth of time of structured edifices to six or seven thousand BC. The sacrificial alters mirrored transcendence of the vast cosmos. Just as grammar was the structuring of human speech to ascend the heights of thought, its counterpart was Sulba or calculations to mirror time, to measure physical entities, and finally the rise of abstractions of mathematics. Vedic Mathematics provides faster solutions of mathematical problems and is an astonishingly faster technique. As technology becomes dominant in life, Vedic Mathematics provides simpler and faster solutions of problems. It is a boon for children with special needs. The contributions of Indian and European mathematicians in this conference will bring out clear understanding of the practical applications of Vedic Mathematics as well as its theoretical contribution to the development of computational sciences. This conference will be a milestone for future developments which are being micro-refined and need speed and precision of Vedic Mathematics. All glory to the learned discussants at the conference. The vision, dedication and continuing hard work of Dr James Glover ensures that we are at the footsteps of global understanding and applications of Vedic Mathematics.

CONFERENCE REPORT

 

This conference was organised by the Institute for the Advancement of Vedic Mathematics (IAVM) and fully sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. It was back in March of last year that I met with the then Director General of ICCR, Mr C.Rajasekhar. His view was that it should be a large conference aimed at making Vedic Maths popular and he agreed to sponsor international speakers as well as those from India. We spent the next seven months networking with our contacts and calling for suitable papers. There was an excellent response and we received many very interesting and useful presentations.

 

The initial plan was to have Kurukshetra University as the hosting venue but due to unforeseen circumstances the ICCR were unable to secure this venue and had to switch to their regional site in Kolkata, which is on the other side of India. Unfortunately, this ocurred only a month before the conference and so there was very little promotion or press coverage of the three-day event.

 

The conference opened with a grand inaugural ceromony and speaches from VIPs. The chief guest speaker was Mr M.J.Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs. Director General of ICCR, Amarendra Khatua, West Bengal Minister of DITEm Bratya Basu and Academic Director, James Glover, also gave introductory speaches. The ceromony ended with the lighting of the flame and this was followed, quite naturally, with tea and cakes. There were about 90 delegates in all. Mr Akbar’s address can be seen at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDISo4BJ-fk

 

There was a total of 22 papers together with 9 workshops and 6 presentations of “global practices”. Had there been a greater number of students and teachers present there would have been more workshops for which we had prepared. Nevertheless, this did not detract from the sheer brilliance and strength of the research papers.

 

The papers covered a wide scope and were loosely themed according to Vedic Mathematics, Vedic Maths in Education and the History of Mathematics in India. Experienced researchers and educators, both in their papers and presentations, conducted themselves with professionalism and enthusiasm. We saw the results of considerable in-depth work in the field. In due course, papers will be made available, either in hard or soft copy. We also had a series of workshops for students and teachers aimed at enriching and deepening knowledge and practice of Vedic Maths.

 

Papers on Vedic Mathematics described cutting-edge research into the system of Bharati Krishna Tirtha. They covered four key features of the system. Firstly, they demonstrated how the methods can be extended to many areas of mathematics not specifically mentioned by Sri Tirthaji. The second aspect was how fast and efficient the methods are. The depth of understanding of the sutras in any type of mathematics also revealed that they operate universally and are not confined to a particular “system”. Fourthly, the methods were seen as highly effective in developing strategic problem-solving skills. Furthermore, two papers described the wide range of applications of Vedic Maths algorithms in computer architecture rendering high-speed performance.

 

A good third of papers dealt with various aspects of education such as how Vedic Maths can assist with special educational needs, how it can also stretch the most able. We heard how the system affects and promotes endorphins, which give a sense of personal well-being. Two papers demonstrated the results of how effective Vedic Maths is in education. For example, one paper from a researcher in Kerala summarised a four and a half-year project, which tested and compared results with experimental and controlled groups of children. 25,000 were the number in each group. The data has been statistically analysed and the results are truly remarkable. The simple conclusion from this survey should be that the Government of India, through it’s various education departments, adopts a root a branch overhaul of the curriculum. My own belief is that the integration of Vedic Mathematics into school and college curricula will render India as the world leader in Mathematics education.

 

Several papers dealt with aspects of the incredibly rich heritage of Indian Mathematics, particularly of the classical mathematicians, such as Bhaskara II. There is a wealth of textural material sitting undisturbed in various libraries, particularly in Kerala that could reveal many of the secrets of the brilliant mathematicians from the past. Surely, these texts need care and respect.

 

Delegates presented their projects and work within their own countries. We called these Global Practices. These are small organisations offering courses through workshops and also conducting research.

 

Delegates were encouraged and delighted to share their interests by meeting like-minded people. We look forward to hold the next international conference in December 2017.

 

James Glover