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India World Of Science Are We Here

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Information about science and technology in ancient India are given. The internet links for additional information are also provided.

1. INTRODUCTION

Men of older generation used to say that all knowledge is there in the Vedas. Anyone who hears such words will have the first reaction that it is an over confident statement. We should remember here that any sloka in the ancient Hindu manuscripts has more than one meaning.

A Sloka in the 10th book of Rig Veda appears to be written for praising Lord Indra. The technical translation of that Sloka gives the value of pi up to 28 digits accurately. It is not until the invention of the computers that the western mathematicians could get this value up to 16 digits accurately. Here is a test for those who think that a computer can do any calculation. Use the fastest computer available to you and write a program to calculate the value of pi up to 28 digits accurately. You will know how difficult it is.

There were many inventions in the field of science and technology in ancient India. Since many persons of the present generation does not know them, they will be described briefly to enable the readers to have the basic understanding about them.

2. THE INVENTIONS OF ANCIENT INDIA

Who invented Calculus? The western books say that Newton invented Calculus. You can see the Sanskrit mathematics texts by Arya Bhatta and Bhaskaracharya which were written many centuries before Newton that they contain Calculus. For that matter, who invented numbers? The Indians. The ancient Romans did not know the number zero. Ancient Indians knew very large numbers like Mahogham (1 followed by 62 zeros) and the corresponding smaller decimal fractions. Paavuloori Mallana of 12th century wrote Ganitha Sastram in Telugu. One poem in the book starts like this:

"Sara sasi shatka chandra sara saayaka ...."

The meaning appears to be a poetic description of nature. Each word used in the poem has a methematical terminology meaning. It deals with a methematical problem. One grain is placed in the first square of the chess board. Double of that number, are placed in the second square, and so on. How many grains have to be placed in the last square? The poem gives the answer as 18446744073709551614 which is equal to 2 to the power 63.

Who invented Nuclear Physics?

Buddhist teacher Pakudha Katyayana taught atomic theory. Maharshi Kanaada of 3rd century, B.C. wrote atomic theory in Vaiseshika Sutras. Agni Purana gives smaller magnitudes. The smallest of them is called Paramaanu which nearly equals one billionth part of a meter. This value tallies with the size of an organic

molecule calculated by the western scientists. According to the Upanishads, the five elements of the nature are Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Akasa. (The ancient Greek or Roman philosophers did not know Akasa). One can easily guess that the Earth represents the solid state, the Water the liquid state and the Air

the gaseous state. The Fire is the plasma, the fourth state of matter. Western science has not recognized nuclear state as a state of matter, even though some nuclear particles are stable; Akasa means nuclear state. In the ancient Sanskrit text named Anu Sidhdhantam, Maharshi Goutama described three models of

micro-scopes through which atoms and electrons can be seen.

Who were the first to calculate the velocity of light?

The Rig Veda Bhashyam by Sayana Madhava gives the following Sloka praising the Sun:

Yojanam sahasre dve, satadve, dvecha yojane Ekena nimeshardhena kramamaana namosthuthe One Yojana equals 15788.8 meters, and half of Nimesha equals 8/75 fraction of a second. This gives the velocity of light as 325940 km/s. We have to remember here that the above value is an approximate one intended for easy

remembrance, like remembering the value of pi as 22/7. It is better than the value 215000 km/s given by Danish astronomer Ole Roemer in 1676. Having discovered so many things, it is only logical to expect that our ancestors must have used light as the standard for length measurements; after all, modern science considers velocity of light to be a Universal Constant! The word "kramamaana" of the above Sloka has the hidden meaning of gradual minute change. This will be dealt a little later.

Who invented weaving? Many experts agree that primitive gins and spinning wheels originated in India. The earliest samples of cotton fabric were found in the excavations of the Indus Valley. Samples of the most ancient mordant dyeing technique for cotton fabrics, Kalamkari, were also found there.

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