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In ancient times, India was advanced in terms of science and technology. Many discoveries and inventions were made in the field of mathematics, medicine, and metallurgy, etc. in ancient India.

Iron Pillar of Delhi

Iron Pillar of Delhi

(1) The Iron pillar of Delhi which is a sample of the fine art of ancient Indian artists is still left from rust.

(2) The pillar was built by Chandragupta II (375-415 CE) and situated in the Qutub complex in Delhi, India.

(3) This is the first iron pillar in the world and is well known for its rust-resistance composition so that it is called “testimony to the high level of skill achieved by the ancient Indian blacksmiths in the extraction and processing of Iron ''.

(4) The corrosion resistance of iron pillar is mainly due to a layer of crystalline iron(III) hydrogen phosphate hydrate forming on high phosphorus content iron and protecting it from external environments.

Wootz steel

Ancient India Science and technology

Image source: Wikipedia

(1)  The wootz steel invented in the South region of Ancient India. 

(2) This world-famous steel formed through heating of black magnetite ore in a sealed clay crucible and flowing of carbon crystal which embeds in iron.

(3) The Wootz steel widely exported to Arabs(especially in the Middle East) and ancient Europe. Wootz steel is a type of crucible steel. This laid foundation of world-famed Damascus blades. 

(4) Microscopic analysis of Wootz steel explains that it contains carbon and a band of clustered Fe3C particles.

(5)  Wootz steel is an anglicized version of the Ukku(Kannada), Urukku(Tamil), and Hukku( Telugu). 

(6) Renowned scientist Michael Faraday spent four years of his life studying the properties of Wootz steel.

(7)  Sword of Tipu Sultan was made from wootz steel and used against British wars.

Concept of Atom

(1) Kanada (Kashyapa) was an ancient Indian scientist and explained about atoms known as “ Anu”. He speculated that the existence of Anu, similar to an atom.

(2) He described that Anu can have two states: one is absolute rest and the other is a state of motion.

Charaka Samhita

(1) Charaka authored the Charaka Samhita. He described the Indian traditional medicine system in his book. This traditional system is known as “Ayurveda”.

(2) He was the first physician to describe the concept of digestion, metabolism, and immunity. He explained herbal medicine is used to cure many diseases.

Binary Number 

(1) Pingala invented the binary number system in the 3rd or the 2nd century in ancient India. 

(2) In his book “Chandahsastra”, He used   Laghu(light) and Guru(Heavy)   syllables that represent “0” and “1” respectively in the modern binary system. 

(3) In the Pingala binary number system, it started at 1 but in the modern binary system start from 0. 

(4) It is used in mathematics and digital electronics.

Concept of Zero 

(1) Zero number was first time symbolized as a dot at  Bakhshali script in 224-383 AD in Bakhshali village of Pakistan. 

(2) Pingala (3rd or 2nd  century) used “0” syllables in his binary number system in Chandahastra's book. It is known as “Sunya” in Sanskrit.

(3) Aryabhata was the first who used zero in the decimal number system and gave the “Concept of Zero”.

(4) Brhamagupta(598 AD-688AD) was explained rules about uses of zero and developed a symbol of zero in his book Brahma-sphuta Siddhanta.

Ten digit  numeral system 

(1) This number system was developed by different civilizations but the Present-day ten-digit numeral system is taken from the Ancient Indian number system. Because every digit has different symbols. 

(2) Ten digits numeral system used in the Bakhshali manuscript in 224 AD. 

(3) This number system accepted by Persia and spread into the middle east and Europe so that it is known as “Indian-Arab” or “ Hindu-Arab” numerals.

Arithmetic and Algebra 

Many mathematicians in ancient India developed many concepts and formulas in arithmetic and algebra, these used modern-day mathematics. 

(1) Aryabhata gave rules about algebra in his book “Aryabhatiya”. 

(2) Brhmagupta gave the solution for the general quadratic equation for both positive and negative roots, solution of linear Diophantine equation, and gave Pythagorean triads. 

(3) Bhaskara II(1114-1185 AD) solved the problem dealing with a determinate and indeterminate linear and a quadratic equation in “ Siddhanta Shiromani”.

Chakravala Method

(1) Chakravala method is a cyclic algorithm to solve intermediate quadratic equations. Bhaskara II described this method.

(2) Chakravala word means Chakra(Wheel) in Sanskrit and represents the cyclic nature of the algorithm.

Negative Numbers 

Negative numbers were first time recognized by the Chinese but rules for its use were given by ancient Indian Mathematicians. They considered negative numbers as a “debt” and positive numbers as “Fortune”.

Concept of Infinity 

(1) The concept of Infinity is very old in ancient India. It is known as “Ananta” which means endless or infinity. 

(2) In Shukla Yajurveda explains infinity: “ Infinity is born from infinity and when we take infinity out of infinity, only infinity remains". 

(3) Bhaskara II explained that if one is divided by zero then we get infinite numbers.

Value of Pi 

(1) Baudhayana was the first time to give the idea of Pi in his book “ Baudhayana Sulbasutra” in the 8th century BC. but did not correctly explain its value.  

(2) Aryabhata(5th Century AD) gave a value of Pi in four decimal places i.e. π = 3.1416.

Uses of Trigonometry

(1) Trigonometry started many civilizations such as Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptian but Indian trigonometry is the base of modern trigonometry.

(2)  Aryabhata, an Indian mathematician explained categorical definitions (Trigonometry functions and table from 0° to 90° into four decimal places). 

(3) Varahmihira made a table of Sine, Cosine up to four decimal places in “Surya Siddhanta” and uses of Sine, Cosine, Inverse Sine, Tangents, and Secants.

Basis of Calculus 

(1) Gottfried Leibniz(17th Centuries) was known father of Calculus but Bhaskara II Indian mathematician gave preliminary concepts of Infinitesimal calculus, Differential calculus, and Integral calculus in “ Siddhanta Shiromani” in the 12th century.

Mensuration 

Indian from ancient times was very well known about measures and weights.

(1)  Indus valley civilization used bricks a perfect dimensions proportion i.e. 4:2:1 and standardized weight system. 

(2) Mohenjodaro ruler in which one unit is equal to 1.32 inches and each unit divided into 10 equal parts. 

(3) During the Vedic period, different terms used for measurement units such as Kala Pramana(a measurement of Time), Mana(a measurement of Capacity), and Tula mana( Measurement of weight).

Fibonacci Numbers

A sequence of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, starting from 0 and 1. This sequence was first described by Virahanka (700 CE) and Gopala (1135 AD).

Cataract Surgery 

Indians were familiar with cataract surgery from ancient times. 

(1) Sushruta (6th Century BC) was known as the “Father of Indian Surgery”.  

(2) He was the first eye surgeon who performed cataract surgery.  Jabamukhi Salaka was a curved needle tool that used to loosen the lens and remove the cataract from it. 

(3) He authored the “Sushruta Samahita” book and gave details about cataract surgery.

Heliocentric Theory of Sun 

(1) Aryabhata's first-time detail explained that Planets rotates in his own axis and revolves around the sun, and moon revolving around the earth in his book “Surya Siddhanta”

(2) He gave an idea about the length of the Sideral year( length of earth’s revolution around the sun) and that is 365.256 days.

Zinc Smelting:

Zinc smelting was the first time in the world found in zawzr area of Rajasthan 
Ancient India Science and technology
Image source: cbscacademic.nic.in


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