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Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy

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Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy
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Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy

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Item Code: NAT886
Author: Virendra Nath Sharama
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9788120812567
Pages: 362
Cover: HARDCOVER
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.58 kg
About the book

Sawai Jai Singh, the statesman astronomer of 18th century India, made a great deal of effort to rejuvenate astronomy in India. Towards his ambitious goal, he designed astronomical instruments, built observatories, prepared a Zij or a text for astronomical calculations, and sent a fact-finding scientific mission to Europe. His high precision instruments were designed to measure time and angles to the very limit of naked eye observations. At his observatories, Hindu pundits, Muslim and European Jesuits worked side by side. Jai Singh spent enormous sums of money on his scientific pursuits and yet he failed to revive astronomy in India. Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy critically examines different facets of Sawai Jai Singh’s astronomical program and attempts to answer questions, such as, why he opted for naked eye masonry instruments when telescope had become common with European astronomers, and why he failed to rejuvenate the science of astronomy in the country.

About the author

VIRENDRA NATH SHARMA is an emeritus professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin Fox Valley, USA. He received his M.Sc. from the Agra University, India and Ph.D. from the Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

PREFACE

Around 1978, I first became interested in Jai Singh's instruments. Jai Singh built his masonry instruments in the day and age of the telescope. The question, why someone would build instruments of masonry and stone in the age of the telescope, intrigued me. I found no convincing answers in the existing literature. I also found that literature on Jai Singh's astronomical endeavors was scanty. In fact, the last authentic book on Jai Singh's instruments had been written almost 60 years ago. Trying to seek an answer to the question of why Jai Singh built his instruments the way he did, and also to learn more about the instruments, I researched primary sources and investigated the instruments in detail. This book is an outcome of this effort.

The resource materials on Sawai Jai Singh's astronomy are scattered in many languages, such as Rajasthani-Hindi, English, French, German, Latin, Portuguese, Persian, and Sanskrit. I have relied on my friends and colleagues to translate the materials for me. The translations were done by Anne Hintz (French), Lila Huberty (French), Rudolph J. Schlueter (German) Konrad Ebisch (German); Yaqub Oomar and Mahboob A. Siddiqi (Persian); late Fr. Leo Bourque (Latin), and Eugene Gibas (German, French, Portuguese). I am grateful to these friends.

I am indebted to S. R. Sarma for reviewing the draft chapters of this book and for making useful suggestions and comments. I am also thankful to S.M.R. Ansari, Anjani Mehra, Gopal Narain Bahura, and David Pingree, whose comments have benefitted the book.

Sincere appreciation is expressed to A.K. Das, Yaduvendra Sahai, the authorities of the Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Jaipur, for making the museum holdings readily available to me for my study. Om Prakash Sharma, the supervisor of Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, saw to it that my investigations at the Jantar Mantar should proceed smoothly. I appreciate his help.

The photographic developments and enlargements were done by Thomas Frantz. J. Asha Sharma painstakingly edited the manuscript. I am thankful to her. General thanks are offered to many people, particularly, Eugene Gibas, who from time to time aided me in this project. The funds for the research were provided by the Smithsonian Institution, National Science Foundation of USA (Grant No. INT- 8018996), UW-Fox Cities Foundation, and the UW-Centers.

The project of research and writing the book required me to spend many hours, which often came at the expense of my family. I express my appreciation for the patience and understanding displayed by my children and by my wife, Manorama Sharma.

**Contents and Sample Pages**










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