The rich scientific past of India is something we seem to have forgotten. From the ancient ayurvedic medicines to the herbs for serious illnesses, India was very active in science and research centuries before modern labs were set up.
Here are 10 significant scientific discoveries that should make every Indian proud of our ancient heritage:
We credit Marconi with the invention of wireless telecommunication but the technology emerged from our own backyard. Radio or wireless technology is the brainchild of Indian scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose. This remarkable breakthrough was achieved by Sir Bose in his extensive research on microwaves. Bose first demonstrated the use of radio in Kolkata in 1895, two years before Marconi did. More than a century after the feat, Bose has been belatedly credited for his feat.
2. Atomic theory
Kanad is considered the first nuclear scientist of India who introduced the theory of atom. Maharishi Kanad’s theories date way back to second century. In the book Darshan-Grantha, one finds a description of Kanad’s concept of atoms. It was Kanad, who first opined that elements are formed mainly because of electrons arranged in a specific manner. The world recognizes John Dalton as the father of atomic theory, but we can’t take anything away from Maharishi Kanad.
3. In-vitro Fertilization
IVF is considered a modern procedure, which was developed in England. In reality, it was the brainchild of Indian scientist Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay, whose contributions went unrecognized. Dr. Mukherjee’s efforts resulted in the birth of India’s first test tube baby Durga. Since she was born on the first day of Durga Puja, she was also named as ‘Durga’.
4. Plastic surgery
Plastic surgery was first conducted by Sushruta. What’s believed to be modern science is actually an Indian heritage. Sushruta’s famous book ‘Sushruta Samhita’, considered one of the oldest discourses, vividly deals with several plastic surgery methods. Sushruta Samhita is viewed as one of the most precious treasures in Indian medical literature.
5. Heliocentric theory
Aryabhatta first proposed the notion that planets move in an axis around the sun. This theory later went on to become the Heliocentric Theory, with further explanations given by Copernicus. Though Aryabhatta had little access to technology, his numerous astronomical calculations were perfectly accurate. His studies also led to the discovery of how lunar and solar eclipses occur.
6. Cotton clothing
A remarkable Indian contribution to the world has been the development, use of cotton textiles for clothing. The ancient Greeks were not familiar with cotton and wore animal skins until the wars of Alexander the Great, when they discovered and started using Indian garments.
7. 'Zero' (0)
Aryabhatta taught the world how to count by inventing zero. The importance of ‘zero’ needs not be overemphasized. This mathematical concept also has a direct link to the philosophy of 'nothingness'.
8. Water on the moon
India’s most recent contribution to science is the discovery of water on the moon. The modern space exploration occurred between 2008 and 2009, with Chandrayaan-1, ISRO’s first lunar mission. ISRO's PSLV carried both ISRO and NASA instruments, of which the Indian 'Moon Impact Probe' first detected lunar water, three months before NASA's 'Moon Mineralogy Mapper' made the same discovery.
9. Rocket artillery
The earliest successful use of rocket artillery is associated with Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Tipu's father Hyder Ali successfully introduced the first iron metal-cylinder rocket. The iron rockets were innovative as they tightly packed the gunpowder propellant to enable higher thrust and longer range. Tipu used them against the British during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. Although the rockets were primitive, they demoralized the enemy due to the noise and bursting light, giving a tough time to the British.
10. Diamond mining
Diamonds have been cherished as gemstones since ancient days. Diamonds are thought to have been first mined in India, where significant deposits could be found many centuries ago. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years.