The rich scientific past of India is something the world will never be able to compete with. From the ancient ayurvedic medicines to the involvement of herbs in treating serious illnesses, India was actively progressing in the field of science and research centuries before modern laboratories were set up. India's most significant contribution to the world remains the discovery of zero, a discovery that taught the world how to count!
While America and Brazil continue to fight over which of the two is the cosmetic surgery capital of the world, Indian physician Sushruta was the first one to formulate plastic surgery! Did you know that the successful use of rocket artillery first happened when Tipu Sultan waged a war against the East India Company? You will also be surprised to find that the Theory of Atom was also provided by Maharshi Kanad in 850 BC. Here are 10 significant scientific discoveries that India gave to the world.
Wireless communication or radio: The entire world talks about Marconi and credits him with the invention of wireless telecommunication but the technology emerged from our own backyard. Radio or Wireless Technology is the brainchild of the Indian scientist and mathematician, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose. This remarkable breakthrough was achieved by Sir Bose on course of his extensive research carried out in the area of Microwaves. He went on to generate extremely short waves and also brought in some considerable modifications on Hertz’s detector of electronic waves. Sir J.C Bose also fashioned a flash of radiation, capable of generating waves of about half an inch. The receiver was pretty sensitive and it did respond to even the slightest of reactions.
Bose first demonstrated the use of radio in Calcutta, in 1895, two years before a similar demonstration by Marconi in England. More than a century after the feat, Bose has been belatedly credited for his achievement.
Theory of Atom: Centuries before John Dalton was born Maharshi Kanad, who is considered as the First Nuclear Scientist of India introduced the theory of atom. Maharishi Kanad’s theories date way back to second century. In the book Darshan-Grantha, one can find a well written 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 and synchronized manner. The world recognises John Dalton as the father of atomic theory, but we definitely can’t take anything away from Maharishi Kanad.
Source: Physics News, Vol.39, Nos.2, pp.5-14, April 2009 Published by the Indian Physics Association
In-vitro Fertilization: IVF is considered the birth procedure of modern age. It was the brainchild of Indian scientist Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay. Indian reproductive biologist, Dr. T.C Anand Kumar while turning over the pages of Dr. Subhash Mukherjee, got familiar with the efforts put in by the latter to script a new chapter in the history of Indian medical science. In fact, Dr. Kumar played a key role in throwing new lights to the whole concept of test tube baby. The efforts put in by Dr. Mukherjee resulted in the birth of India’s first test tube babyDurga. Since she was born on the first day of Durga Puja, she was also named as ‘Durga’.
Plastic surgery: America and Brazil may be quarrelling over who is the world’s plastic surgery capital, but plastic surgery was first formulated by Sushruta. What’s widely believed to be the offshoot of modern science and technology is actually an Indian invention. We are talking about Plastic Surgery that was actually formulated by an Indian surgeon Sushruta. Sushruta’s famous book ‘Sushruta Samhita’ which is considered as one of the oldest discourse, vividly deals with several methods of performing plastic surgery. In fact, Sushruta Samhita is looked upon as one of the most precious treasure in the history of Indian medical literature.
The Heliocentric theory: The father of Indian Astronomy, Aryabhatta came up with the notion that planets move in an axis around the sun. This theory later went on to become famous as Heliocentric Theory, with further details and explanations inked by Copernicus. Though Aryabhatta’s access to technology was limited, his numerous measurements and calculations based on earth were perfectly accurate for his time. In fact, he is the first ever astrologer in this world to discover that planets revolve in their own axis around the sun. Further, his studies also led to the discovery of how lunar and solar eclipses occur.
Cotton clothing: Would you believe that India taught the world how to dress? A remarkable Indian contribution to the world was the development, production and use of cotton textiles for clothing. The Ancient Greeks were initially not even familiar with cotton, instead often wearing animal skins until the wars of Alexander the Great, during which they discovered and started using Indian garments, which essentially clothe all of us today.
The 'Zero' (0): It is widely known how Aryabhatta taught the world how to count. Little needs to be written about the 'zero', one of the most important inventions of all time. This mathematical digit and concept also has a direct link to the ancient philosophy of 'nothingness'.
Water on the moon: India’s most recent contribution to the world of science is the discovery of water on the moon. The modern space exploration occurred between 2008 and 2009, with Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) first dedicated lunar mission. ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carried both ISRO and NASA instruments, of which the Indian 'Moon Impact Probe' first detected the presence of lunar water. This was achieved three months before NASA's 'Moon Mineralogy Mapper' (also part of Chandrayaan-1) made the same breakthrough, to which the discovery of lunar water is often attributed.
Successful use of rocket artillery: The use of rockets as some form of artillery dates back to medieval China where devices such as fire arrows were used, mostly for psychological purposes. The earliest successful utilization of rocket artillery is associated with Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Tipu Sultan's father Hyder Ali successfully established the powerful Sultanate of Mysore and introduced the first iron-cased metal-cylinder rocket. The Mysorean rockets of this period were innovative, chiefly because of the use of iron tubes that tightly packed the gunpowder propellant; this enabled higher thrust and longer range for the missile (up to 2 km range). They were used by Hyder Ali's son Tipu Sultan against the larger forces of the British East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore Warsespecially during the Battle of Pollilur. Although the rockets were quite primitive, they had a demoralizing effect on the enemy due to the noise and bursting light. The East India company had a tough time beating the rocket artillery.
Diamond mining: Diamonds are thought to have been first recognized and mined in India, where significant alluvial deposits of the stone could be found many centuries ago along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years. Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons in ancient India. Their usage in engraving tools also dates to early human history.