## The Advanced Ancient Indian Scientist

**One of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Indian civilization has a strong tradition of science and technology. Ancient India was a land of sages and seers as well as a land of scholars and scientists. Research has shown that from making the best steel in the world to teaching the world to count, India was actively contributing to the field of science and technology centuries long before modern laboratories were set up. Many theories and techniques discovered by the ancient Indians have created and strengthened the fundamentals of modern science and technology. While some of these groundbreaking contributions have been acknowledged, some are still unknown to most.**

####
__:-The Idea of Zero__ - Little needs to be written about the mathematical digit ‘zero’, one of
the most important inventions of all time. Mathematician Aryabhata was
the first person to create a symbol for zero and it was through his
efforts that mathematical operations like addition and subtraction
started using the digit, zero. The concept of zero and its integration
into the place-value system also enabled one to write numbers, no matter
how large, by using only ten symbols.

####
__:-The Decimal System__ - India gave the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of
ten symbols – the decimal system. In this system, each symbol received a
value of position as well as an absolute value. Due to the simplicity
of the decimal notation, which facilitated calculation, this system made
the uses of arithmetic in practical inventions much faster and easier.

####
__:-Numeral Notations -__ Indians, as early as 500 BCE, had devised a system of different symbols
for every number from one to nine. This notation system was adopted by
the Arabs who called it the *hind*** **numerals. Centuries
later, this notation system was adopted by the western world who called
them the Arabic numerals as it reached them through the Arab traders.

####
__:-Fibbonacci Numbers -__ The Fibonacci numbers and their sequence first appear in Indian mathematics as *mātrāmeru, *mentioned by
Pingala in connection with the Sanskrit tradition of prosody. Later on,
the methods for the formation of these numbers were given by
mathematicians Virahanka, Gopala and Hemacandra , much before the
Italian mathematician Fibonacci introduced the fascinating sequence to
Western European mathematics.

####
__:-Binary Numbers__ - Binary numbers is the basic language in which computer programs are
written. Binary basically refers to a set of two numbers, 1 and 0,
the combinations of which are called bits and bytes. The binary number
system was first described by the Vedic scholar Pingala, in his book *Chandahśāstra*, which is the earliest known Sanskrit treatise on prosody ( the study of poetic metres and verse).

####
__:-Chakravala method of Algorithms__ - The *chakravala* method is a cyclic algorithm to solve
indeterminate quadratic equations, including the Pell’s equation. This
method for obtaining integer solutions was developed by Brahmagupta, one
of the well known mathematicians of the 7^{th} century CE.
Another mathematician, Jayadeva later generalized this method for a
wider range of equations, which was further refined by Bhāskara II in
his *Bijaganita* treatise.

####
__:-Ruler Measurements__ - Excavations at Harappans sites have yielded rulers or linear
measures made from ivory and shell. Marked out in minute subdivisions
with amazing accuracy, the calibrations correspond closely with the *hasta* increments
of 1 3/8 inches, traditionally used in the ancient architecture of
South India. Ancient bricks found at the excavation sites have
dimensions that correspond to the units on these rulers.

####
__:-A Theory of Atom__ - One of the notable scientists of the ancient India was** **Kanad who is said to have devised the atomic theory centuries before John Dalton was born. He speculated the existence of *anu* or a small indestructible particles, much like an atom. He also stated that *anu*
can have two states — absolute rest and a state of motion. He further
held that atoms of same substance combined with each other in a specific
and synchronized manner to produce *dvyanuka* (diatomic molecules) and *tryanuka* (triatomic molecules).

####
__:-The Heliocentric Theory__ - Mathematicians of ancient India often applied their mathematical
knowledge to make accurate astronomical predictions. The most
significant among them was Aryabhatta whose book, *Aryabhatiya,*
represented the pinnacle of astronomical knowledge at the time. He
correctly propounded that the Earth is round, rotates on its own axis
and revolves around the Sun i.e the heliocentric theory. He also made
predictions about the solar and lunar eclipses, duration of the day as
well as the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

####
__:-Wootz Steel__ - A pioneering steel alloy matrix developed in India, Wootz steel is a
crucible steel characterized by a pattern of bands that was known in the
ancient world by many different names such as *Ukku, Hindwani *and* Seric Iron*.
This steel was used to make the famed Damascus swords of yore that
could cleave a free-falling silk scarf or a block of wood with the same
ease. Produced by the Tamils of the Chera Dynasty, the finest steel of
the ancient world was made by heating black magnetite ore in the
presence of carbon in a sealed clay crucible kept inside a charcoal
furnace.

####
__:-Smelting of Zinc__ - India was the first to smelt zinc by the distillation process, an
advanced technique derived from a long experience of ancient
alchemy. The ancient Persians had also attempted to reduce zinc oxide in
an open furnace but had failed. Zawar in the Tiri valley of
Rajasthan is the world’s first known ancient zinc smelting site. The
distillation technique of zinc production goes back to the 12th Century
AD and is an important contribution of India to the world of science.

####
__:-Seamless Metal Globe__ - Considered one of the most remarkable feats in metallurgy, the first
seamless celestial globe was made in Kashmir by Ali Kashmiri ibn Luqman
in the reign of the Emperor Akbar. In a major feat in metallurgy, Mughal
metallurgists pioneered the method of lost-wax casting to make twenty
other globe masterpieces in the reign of the Mughal Empire. Before
these globes were rediscovered in the 1980s, modern metallurgists
believed that it was technically impossible to produce metal globes
without any seams, even with modern technology.

####
__:-Plastic Surgery__ - Written by Sushruta in 6th Century BC, *Sushruta Samhita*
is considered to be one of the most comprehensive textbooks on ancient
surgery. The text mentions various illnesses, plants, preparations and
cures along with complex techniques of plastic surgery. The *Sushruta Samhita *’s most well-known contribution to plastic surgery is the reconstruction of the nose, known also as rhinoplasty.

####
__:-Cataract Surgery__ - The first cataract surgery is said to have been performed by the ancient
Indian physician Sushruta, way back in 6th century BCE. To remove the
cataract from the eyes, he used a curved needle, *Jabamukhi Salaka*,
to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision.
The eye would then be bandaged for a few days till it healed completely.
Sushruta’s surgical works were later translated to Arabic language and
through the Arabs, his works were introduced to the West.

####
__:-Ayurveda__ - Long before the birth of Hippocrates, Charaka authored a foundational text, *Charakasamhita,* on the ancient science of Ayurveda*. *Referred
to as the Father of Indian Medicine, Charaka was was the first
physician to present the concept of digestion, metabolism and immunity
in his book. Charaka’s ancient manual on preventive medicine remained a
standard work on the subject for two millennia and was translated into
many foreign languages, including Arabic and Latin.

####
__:-Iron-Cased Rockets__ - The first iron-cased rockets were developed in the 1780s by Tipu
Sultan of Mysore who successfully used these rockets against the larger
forces of the British East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore Wars.
He crafted long iron tubes, filled them with gunpowder and fastened them
to bamboo poles to create the predecessor of the modern rocket. With a
range of about 2 km, these rockets were the best in the world at that
time and caused as much fear and confusion as damage. Due to them, the
British suffered one of their worst ever defeats in India at the hands
of Tipu.

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The Advanced Ancient Indian Scientist
Reviewed by shikhar choubey
on
December 16, 2017
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