श्रीमार्कण्डेयवर्यस्य व्याख्यनम् (Justice Markandeya Katju's Lecture (Essay))

कृपया पठतु। इदं व्याख्यानं ज्ञानवर्धनं रोचकम् अपि अस्ति।

Sanskrit As A Language Of Science
Full text of the speech delivered by Justice Markandey Katju, Judge, Supreme Court of India  on 13.10.2009 in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

अस्मिन् वक्तव्ये श्रीमार्कण्डेयवर्यः कथयति –
I would like to illustrate the revolutionary significance of the decimal system. As we all know, ancient Rome was a great civilization, the civilization of Caesar and Augustus, but if one would have asked an ancient Roman to write the number one million he would have almost gone crazy because to write one million he would have to write the letter M which stands for millennium (or one thousand) one thousand times. In the Roman numerals there is no single number greater than M, which stands for one thousand. To write 2000 we have to write MM, to write 3000 we have to write MMM, and to write one million one has to write M one thousand times.

यदि कोऽपि one million इति लेखितुम् इच्छति तर्हि कथं प्रयुतम् इति न लिखेत् कथं सहस्रवारं M इति लिखेत् इति न जानामि। प्रश्नः नास्ति कथं लिख्यते किन्तु यथा लिख्यते तथा संकलनम् कर्तुं शक्यते अथवा न। M सहस्त्रवारं लिखित्वा यदि तस्य अङ्कस्य केन अपि अन्येन अङ्केन सह संकलाय कापि अनुक्रमः अस्ति यस्मात् संकलनं कर्तुं शक्यते इति प्रश्नः अस्ति। दशमलवपद्धति-लेखनेन संकलनाय प्रचुराः अनुक्रमाः उपयोक्तुं शक्यन्ते। तत् तु दशमलव-पद्धत्याः revolutionary significance इति अस्ति।

If someone wants to write a million why cannot one just write a million, why does one have to write M a thousand times. Being able to write 1,000,000 instead of a thousand “M”s is really not the main point of the decimal system. The fact that having written numbers in decimal system, algorithms for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing can be easily developed and this is the beauty of the decimal system. Ease in writing is not science, but writing in a way which enables the application of algorithms is science.

२०१३-०२-१७ रविवासरः (2013-02-17 Sunday)