Exponentials were known as “Uss Al-Hind” in classical Arabic.

“Indians excelled all other countries in math, astronomy, medicine & science” – wrote Arabic scholar Sa’id al-Andalusi in the 11th century.

Further, al-Andalusi writes:

“The FIRST nation in the world to have cultivated science is India! India is known for wisdom of its people. They have made great strides in the study of numbers and geometry. They have surpassed all other nations in their knowledge of science”-


“Indians have acquired immense information and reached the zenith of their knowledge in astronomy & astrology. They surpassed all other people in their knowledge of medical science and drugs. Their kings are known for good moral principles and wise decisions”

Source: “Science in Medieval World: Book of the Categories of Nations” by Sa’id al-Andalusi. Translated by Sema`an I. Salem. Published by University of Texas Press (1996).



The above Twitter thread was a response to Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee (cancer physician, author of The Emperor of All Maladies, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize 2011). The doctor had claimed that Arab mathematicians enabled understanding of exponentials to the Western world, which is also a factually true statement. Dr Mukherjee responded to the above Twitter thread after it went hugely popular, wherein he accepted that Indian mathematicians had indeed invented exponentials and Arab mathematicians had later enabled their understanding to the West. Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote:

“I can read Sanskrit. I know the history of mathematics as well as anyone. I wrote Arab mathematics “ENABLED” the understanding of exponentials. I wrote nothing about who invented exponentials. Enabled is the correct word. Arab mathematicians drew inspiration from works by Indian/Buddhist maths. There are many examples of how mathematicians in the Middle East drew from Indian mathematics. Nowhere is it implied that exponents were INVENTED by Middle-Eastern mathematicians. But there is plenty of historical evidence that the use of the exponent was popularized through transmission — India-Middle-East-West. I read Sanskrit fluently. I read Arabic, and read Hindi and Bengali. I know this history as well as anyone. Turn to the dictionary and understand the world “ENABLED”. Stay safe, wear masks, and let us try to get medicines and vaccines as soon as we can.”

Credit- Trueindology


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