Mathematics from the Indian subcontinent has provided foundations for much of our modern thinking on the subject. They were thought to be the first to use zero as a number. Our modern numerals have their roots there too. And mathematicians in the area that is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were grappling with concepts such as infinity centuries before Europe got to grips with it. There’s even a suggestion that Indian mathematicians discovered Pythagora’s theorem before Pythagoras. So how were these advances passed on to the rest of the world? And why was the contribution of mathematicians from this area ignored by Europe for centuries? From BBC archives.