Indians made important contributions to the field of science and mathematics. In ancient times, religion and science were inextricably linked. Astronomy made great strides in India because it became indispensable due to its correlation to changes in the seasons and weather conditions, which were conducive for agricultural activities. Remember the weather forecasts made by this guy in movie Swades.
The science of grammar and linguistics arose because the ancient Brahmans stressed that every Vedic prayer and mantra should be recited with meticulous precision. Unimaginable progresses were attained in the field of medicine and surgery. Mathematicians like Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya etc. made Indians frontrunner in this field of study. Here are 5 significant scientific achievements of ancient times which made this country a knowledge capital:
Life of Pi – Baudhayan gave birth to π instead of Swiss Leonhard Eular
Baudhayan was a famous Indian mathematician who first used pi (π) and calculated its approximate value. He unfolded several other critical concepts of mathematics. Among them was Pythagoras theorem, which was already explained and scripted in his work “Sulva Sutra” penned years before Pythagoras’s work.
Baudhayan has explained the concept in one of his Sulbasutras, which have been written in Sanskrit language. The proof has been done algebraically, through area calculation instead of geometrically.
India’s own theory on “Kanas” (Atoms)
Curiosity regarding matter and their formation led to the discovery of “Kana” (Atom) by Aulukya, an Indian scientist who lived around sixth century. He concluded that material universe is made up of kanas, which can’t be seen through bare human eyes. He also postulated that this petite unit of matter is indivisible and indestructible. Modern atomic theory reiterates and confirms his findings. People started calling him Kanad for his contribution in the field of study of Kanas or atoms.
The art of Alchemism
We have always been fascinated by Gold. It is constantly in demand for use in ornaments, jewelries and investments. Thus, numerous scientists dedicated their entire life to formulate steps to alter other metals into Gold. Nagarjuna, through his experiments came close to discover element with Gold like shine.
His methods are still in use to manufacture imitation jewelry. In his treatise, “Rasaratnakara”, he has discussed methods for the extraction of metals like gold, silver, tin and copper.
The father of Plastic Surgery and his bible on Human Anatomy
Sushruta pioneered the study of human body through his experiments on human cadavers. His supreme gift was in the field of Rhinoplasty (Plastic Surgery) and removal of cataract. It is because of his phenomenal contribution, he is known as “Father of Plastic Surgery”.
He captured all his conclusions in “Sushruta Samhita” which is considered to be a bible on Surgery. The book has 184 chapters and 1120 medical conditions described comprehensively. The compendium lists 300 surgeries under eight categories and describes 650 drugs along with their composition. Sushruta advocated use of Wine and Cannabis incense for anesthesia when this concept was alien to the whole world.
Surgeries have been described in stepwise manner and even the instruments used have been listed. He did successful surgeries to restore limbs and other organs lost during wars, which were common in those days.
Pioneer of Medicine and founder of “Ayurveda” – Charak
Considered to be the father of Indian Medicine Science, Charak was a highly experienced and recommended “Vaidya” in the courts of King Kanishka. Like Sushruta, he also wrote a book on his experiments known as “Charak Samhita”. The book comprehensively lists diseases and their symptoms and ways to diagnose them. Various herbal medicines have been described laying the foundation of “Ayurveda”. He was the first to talk about digestion, metabolism and immunity. In Charak Samhita, more stress has been laid on removing the cause of disease rather than simply treating the illness.
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