I am excited to have this opportunity to tell you about my soon-to-be experiences in India! My name is Jen Green, and I am a junior here at Randolph-Macon. Home for me is Savage, Maryland, about half way in between the busyness of Washington D.C. and Baltimore.This travel course caught my attention because I know that opportunities to travel to unique places like India are rare.
Although we are not India-bound until January 18, we had our first class today, titled "Indian Mathematics". Dr. Bhattacharya who is a professor here at R-MC, as well as a native to India, will be leading our group. We began our discussion of Indian Math with an examination of the history as it developed, beginning in 3000 B.C. We quickly learned of the deep ties between religion and math. Astronomy, for example, was developed to help determine when sacrifices should be performed.
Many proofs for mathematical ideas that are believed to have originated in India are so complex that mathematicians today have a difficult time realizing how such ideas were discovered. The use of precise weights for measurement showed up in 3000 B.C., along with the Indus scale. Between 1500 B.C. and 800 B.C., arithmetical operations and vedic geometry were identified. By the time 200 B.C. rolled around, Indian mathematicians had already developed rules of mathematical operations, decimal place notation, quadratic equations and even had a symbol for zero! (which was then an abstract concept)
While the Indian Math we will be learning about before we leave has already proven to be extremely interesting, we are most excited about actually traveling to India. While we're there, we will be spending time in New Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal. We are thankful that we are still able to go on the trip despite the recent events in Mumbai. While we will miss our sociology companions, we are glad that most have found other exciting travel/internship opportunities.
So, who exactly will I be spending 19 hours on a plane and then exploring India with? Dr. Bhattacharya is bringing her family along with the four of us enrolled in the course. My travel companions are: Jill Dixon, a senior from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mary Jocelyn, a junior from Virginia Beach, VA, and John Stone, a junior from Richmond, VA. I hope to be able to include the thoughts and impressions of Jill, Mary, and John here along with my own, since visiting India is a first for all of us. Stay tuned!!!......