One folio of a Sanskrit manuscript depicting numerical tables.

Page from a Mahādevī manuscript. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML). Columbia University.

A Favorable Constellation of the Stars

Conference organized by Tejas Aralere (University of New Hampshire), Charlotte Gorant (Columbia University), and Alexander Jones (NYU-ISAW)

This conference will take place in person at ISAW.

Registration is required at THIS LINK.

The Smith Collection of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, which was cataloged by renowned historian of mathematics Professor David Pingree, contains a wealth of materials for researching astronomy, mathematics, astrology, and omens in South Asia. Most of the 358 manuscripts are primarily Jyotiṣaśāstra in category. We have organized a conference entitled Favorable Constellation of the Stars to encourage scholarly discussion as a celebration of the collection. The one-day conference will comprise presentations on topics including the premodern astral sciences, history of sciences, and mathematics.

Conference Schedule:

Alexander Jones (NYU-ISAW)
Opening Remarks

Charlotte Gorant (Columbia University)
"A Brief Introduction to the Smith Indic Manuscript Collection and its History"

Kim Plofker (Union College)
"The Smith Indic Collection and Indian Astronomical Schools"

Bill Mak (ISF Academy)
"Early Indian Pre-Siddhāntic Astronomical Treatises — A Chronology"

Coffee Break

Marko Geslani (University of South Carolina)
"Notes on the Formation of the Yātrā"

Toke Knudsen (SUNY-Oneonta)
"Resembling a Mirror: Purāṇic Statements on the Shape of the Earth"


Tejas Aralere (University of New Hampshire)
"Ratna Prabhāva: Astrological Metaphysics and Healing Amulets"

Eric Gurevitch (Vanderbilt University)
"Bringing Tables Down from the Heavens: Consultation Reading and the Everyday Life of Manuscripts"

Coffee Break

Alexander Jones (NYU-ISAW)
Culminating Remarks and Reflections

Open Discussion

Please check for event updates.

ISAW is committed to providing a positive and educational experience for all guests and participants who attend our public programming. We ask that all attendees follow the guidelines listed in our community standards policy.