2012-01-01

1 / 2012 Happy New Year -- commemorating a historical blunder

Happy New Year -- commemorating a historical blunder

We have just started a New Year according to our common Gregorian calendar. The earth just completed going around the sun once. We have just seen 366 sunrises, since the last new Year's Day. There goes a story many of us have not heard of, or have forgotten. Early mathematicians who invented the science of "geometry" decided to divide a circle into 360 degrees. The word geometry itself is inspired from geo -- earth, metry-- measurements. They saw the earth going around the sun in some 360 days (according to their crude and primitive measurements).

Although, later this was proved wrong, we continue to stick to the 360 degrees rule of circles (each degree reminds us of one day in earth's annual excursion), a big blunder which the world has accepted since ages. So, every time we celebrate New Year, we must think of this historic blunder which we made several centuries ago.

Subsequent generations of mathematicians, corrected all this, giving rise to a bewildering variety of calendars. A good collection of calendar related information can be found at ::: http://www.hermetic.ch/cal_stud.htm

The science of geometry grew into the science of astronomy (now we start looking at the stars). We have now come to the stage when we can actually hope to visit these celestial bodies. All this started with a faulty premise of 360 degrees to a circle.

partha

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