Agra: It has eluded experts for centuries, but now an Indian, following in the footsteps of Aryabhatt, one of the earliest Indian mathematicians, claims to have worked out a simple formula to find any number`s cube root.
Nirbhay Singh Nahar, a retired chemical engineer and an amateur mathematician, claims he has found a formula that will help students and applied engineers to work out the cube roots of any number in a short time.
"Give me any number - even, odd, decimals, a fraction...and I will give you the cube root using a simple calculator to just add and subtract within a minute and a half. We do have methods and patterns, but no formula at the moment. Even the tables give cube roots of 1 to 1,000, not of fractions or of numbers beyond 1,000, for which people have to use scientific calculators," Nahar, who retired as an engineer from Hindustan Salts Ltd at Sambhar (Rajasthan), said.
Four years, thousands of sums, a lot of painstaking research and total devotion led him to develop the formula which he has now copyrighted.
"I am willing to be scrutinised and investigated by anyone in the world, and to demonstrate but I will not disclose the formula till it is patented because I want the credit for my work to go to India, my country," he added.
Nahar, who sent his findings to research journals but got no response, said he will soon write to the prime minister requesting him to arrange a meeting between him and the world`s top mathematicians.
"Only when I get recognition for my formula named NAHNO (Nah stands for Nahar and NO for number) will I disclose my formula," Nahar said.
The cube root of a number is a figure, which multiplied by itself thrice gives the larger number.
Many complex and multi-staged methods are available to crack cube roots, but they are time-consuming and cumbersome. On a standard calculator, one has to go through half a dozen steps before getting the answer.
Mathematicians down the ages have all tried to get a simple formula which gives a precise answer, but it has eluded them. While Newton`s formula arrives at an approximation, Nahar claims his formula leads to direct and perfect value, and no approximation.
"So far no one has been able to do it. Cube roots are a very complicated game. People have been coming out with solutions. But in 5,000 years no one has been able to discover a workable formula for cube roots. My formula will make history and add to India`s mathematical genius," Nahar said.
Mathematics is not his profession nor did he take any formal training in the discipline. He stumbled on the idea while helping his grandchildren with their homework.
"It was me and the complicated arithmetic sums. In six months I found the formula which does not require use of scientific calculators," Nahar said.
Nahar said he had read both Western and Vedic mathematics and consulted all authorities on the subject.
If proved right, he will follow in the illustrious footsteps of 5th century mathematician Aryabhatt, who was known for his work in astronomy, arithmetic, algebra and trigonometry. It is said that his book helped European mathematicians learn how to calculate the areas of triangles, volumes of spheres as well square and cube roots.