Ancient Indian Rope Geometry in the Classroom - Conclusion and About the Authors

Cynthia J. Huffman (Pittsburg State University) and Scott V. Thuong (Pittsburg State University)


In ancient India, geometry was used extensively in constructing fire altars without the use of modern measuring devices. By using ropes, they were able to form right angles and various shapes and to transform one shape into another with the same area. They also were able to devise a good approximation to the square root of 2. Students today can use these same methods to explore and engage with geometrical concepts through GeoGebra applets and hands-on activities, while at the same time gaining an appreciation of some of the mathematical contributions of the ancient Indian civilization.


The authors wish to thank the editor and referees for their helpful suggestions. We greatly appreciate the thorough review which was invaluable in improving the paper. We also wish to thank Michio Yano, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Sangyo University, for allowing us to use the photographs in Figures 1, 2, and 12.

About the Authors

Cynthia J. Huffman is a University Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. She has always been interested in history of mathematics but her interest was especially sparked by participation in several of the MAA Study Tours. Her research areas include computational commutative algebra and history of mathematics. Dr. Huffman is a handbell soloist and has a black belt in Chinese Kenpo karate.
Scott V. Thuong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. His research areas include topology, geometry, and the history of mathematics. In his spare time, Dr. Thuong enjoys a good game of badminton.