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Mathematical Treasure: Ramchundra's Maxima and Minima

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Ramchundra (1821-1880) was an Indian mathematics master and teacher in British colonial India. In 1850, he published A Treatise on Problems of Maxima and Minima Solved by Algebra on obtaining maximum and minimum values of a function without calculus. It attracted the attention of local British authorities in Calcutta (now Kolkata), who sent a copy to the eminent mathematician Augustus De Morgan. De Morgan was so impressed that he had the work republished in London under the same title in 1859.                                                Ramchundra's 1850 Maxima and Minima

De Morgan included a lengthy Preface in which he explained the background of this work and commented on the need to encourage mathematical talent in British colonial possessions. The first two pages of this Preface are shown below.

Ramchundra's Maxima and Minima preface


Read the full Preface, also available via the biography of Ramchundra in the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive.

The first page of Ramchundra’s text follows:

Ramchundra's Maxima and Minima page 1

The images above are provided courtesy of Columbia University Libraries.

Index to Mathematical Treasures  

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Ramchundra's Maxima and Minima," Convergence (April 2018)