Rutherford Discovery Fellowship project

Clemency Montelle received the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship for her project on the history of the exact sciences in second millennium sanskrit sources.

Clemency Montelle received the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship (2013–2017) from the Royal Society of New Zealand for her project on 'New Perspectives on the History of the Exact Sciences in Second Millennium Sanskrit Sources'.

The astral sciences in the Indian subcontinent—that is, mathematics, astronomy, and related disciplines—have been flourishing for over two and a half millennia, and this culture of inquiry has produced insights and techniques that are central to many of our scientific practices today, such as the base ten decimal place value system and trigonometry. Indeed, many of their technical procedures, such as infinite series expansions for various mathematical relations predated those that were developed with the advent of the Calculus, but notably in contrasting intellectual circumstances with distinctly different epistemic priorities.

However, while many histories of science have centered on the so-called 'western miracle' in their analysis of the ignition and flourishing of modern science, they have done so at the expense of other non-European traditions. Yet these traditions can provide some powerful contrasts and cross-cultural comparisons for our attempts to delineate and illuminate the scope of scientific activity more broadly.

This comprehensive and far reaching research programme aimed to rectify this disparity by bringing more prominently into the mainstream key perspectives, features, and themes of this important, yet understudied, tradition of scientific inquiry.