Radhanath Sikdar Great Trigonometric Survey height of Mount Everest

Radhanath Sikdar Great Trigonometric Survey

Radhanath Sikdar
Indian mathematician
Radhanath Sikdar was an Indian mathematician who is best known for calculating the height of Mount Everest.
Born: October 1813, Jorasanko, Kolkata
Died: 17 May 1870, Gondol Para
Known for: Calculating height of Mount Everest
Parent(s): Tituram Sikdar(Father)

Full details :- 

In 1831, George Everest, the Surveyor General of India, was in the pursuit of a mathematician who had specialized in Spherical Trigonometry, so that they could be a part of the Great Trigonometric Survey. In 1832, under the leadership of Everest, the longitudinal series of the “triangle” survey was completed from Seronj in Madhya Pradesh to Calcutta in West Bengal.

While still working on mapping Calcutta, Bengal, Everest had begun his search for a mathematician, and soon enough, John Tytler, a professor of Mathematics at the Hindu College, now known as the Presidency College, recommended his 19-year-old pupil, Radhanath Sikdar.

Radhanath, a student of the college since 1824, was one of the first two Indians to read Isaac Newton’s Principia and by 1832; he had studied Euclid’s Elements, Thomas Jephson’s Fluxion and Analytical Geometry and Astronomy by Windhouse. Taking inspiration from these prestigious papers, he devised a new method to draw a common tangent to two circles, when he was just a teenager. There was little doubt about Radhanath’s proficiency in his subject, and he secured the job at the GTS on 19 December 1831 as a “computer” at a salary of thirty rupees per month.

Soon he was sent to Sironj near Dehradun. Even as seven other Bengali ‘computers’ worked alongside him, Radhanath soon showed his superior skills in mathematics and became Everest’s favourite colleague. So much so, that he once stopped his transfer to another department. Radhanath’s job was to carry geodetic surveys—the study of the earth’s geometric shape orientation in space and gravitational field. He did not just use the established methods but invented his own to accurately measure these factors.

George Everest retired in 1843 and was succeeded by Colonel Andrew Scott Waugh. Eight years later, in 1851, Radhanath was promoted to the position of Chief Computer and transferred to Calcutta. Here, he was also a superintendent for the Meteorological Department.

At the order of Colonel Waugh, Radhanath started measuring the height of mountains. The brilliant mathematician, who had perhaps never seen Mount Everest, discovered in 1852 that Kangchenjunga, which was considered to be the tallest in the world, wasn’t really so. Compiling data about Mount Everest from six observations, he eventually came to the conclusion that it was the tallest in the world.

It was during the computations of the northeastern observations that Radhanath had calculated the height of Peak XV at exactly 29,000 ft, but Waugh added an arbitrary two feet because he was afraid that the Sikdar’s figure would be considered a rounded number rather than an accurate one. He officially announced this finding in March 1856, and this remained the height of Mount Everest till an Indian survey re-calculated it to be 29,029 ft or 8848 m in 1955.

Technological advancements, data from the thousands of climbers, and the discovery of different routes to the summit all have led to a more accurate calculation of the height of Mount Everest—a peak that grows at the rate of 4 mm every year and whose summit is slowly moving northeastwards each passing year.

Radhanath Sikdar Great Trigonometric Survey

Radhanath Sikdar
Radhanath Sikdar.jpg

Radhanath Sikdar
Born 5 October 1813

Sikdar Para, JorasankoKolkataWest Bengal[1]
Died 17 May 1870

Nationality Indian
Occupation Mathematician
Parent(s) Tituram Sikdar (Father)[2]

DNA Special: All about Radhanath Sikdar, the man who measured Mount Everest for the first time ever

Do you know why and how the world’s highest mountain peak got its name Mount Everest? History has taught us that in 1856 the Royal Geographical Society named the highest mountain peak in the world as ‘Mount Everest’. It was named after Sir George Everest, who was the head of the survey and map-making organization Survey of India from 1830 to 1843. Sir George Everest died on December 2, 1866.

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