Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology

Indians have played an important role in the field of science and technology. The Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic age and later periods saw great achievements by Indians in the field of Science and technology. In modern times many Indian scientists and mathematicians have done phenomenal work and some of them even received awards like Nobel Prize for their contributions in science in technology.

Achievements of Indians in Science and Technology in Ancient and medieval India

Baudhayana (800 BCE)

Baudhayana was a mathematician who lived in ancient India around 800 BCE. His major contributions include:

  • He is considered the earliest author of Sulbasutras which was used for the accurate construction of altars needed for Vedic sacrifices.

  • He gave a near accurate value of Pi(π).

  • He gave the theorem today known as “Pythagoras theorem” before Pythagoras had developed it.

  • He also gave a near accurate value of square root of 2 (577/408) which is correct to 5 decimal places.

Kanada Sage

Kanada, a philosopher estimated to have lived in India between 6th century to 2nd century BCE. His name Kanada means atom eater.

  • He was the first person to give the atomic theory. He gave the idea that Parmanu (Atom) was an indestructible particle of matter which cannot be divided further. Later on, Dalton made similar observations in his Dalton's atomic theory.

Charaka (300 BCE)

Charaka is considered as the “Father of Indian Medicine” who lived in around 300 BCE in India. His major contributions include:

  • He was among the principal contributors to the ancient system of medicine ‘Ayurveda’ and wrote his medical treatise the ‘Charak Samhita’.

  • He is known for his works on metabolism and fundamentals of genetics.

  • He wrote about three doshas which the body contains i.e. Vata (movement),  Pitta (transformation) and Cough (lubrication and stability). Diseases occur when the balance among these three doshas gets disturbed.

Sushruta

Sushruta was the author of “Sushruta Samhita” an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery.

  • Sushruta invented surgical instruments and worked on the dissection of dead bodies.

  • Sushruta was aware of cataract operations.

  • He is also known as the “father of surgery” and “father of plastic surgery”.

Aryabhatta (476- 550 CE)

Aryabhatta also was known as Aryabhatta 1 was the first major astronomer and mathematician from the classical age of Indian astronomy and Indian mathematics.

  • His major works include Aryabhatiya and Arya-Siddhanta.

  • He calculated the orbits of planets, and scientifically explained the Solar and lunar eclipses.

  • He calculated the distance between Earth and Moon. He proposed that Earth rotates on its axis.

  • He gave the theory that the apparent motion of stars is due to the movement of Earth.

  • He calculated the circumference of the earth and proposed that the shape of Earth is not flat.

  • He worked on the place value system and zero as a symbol and concept.

Varahamihira (505- 587 CE)

Varahamihira was born in Avanthi region during the Gupta rule.

  • He wrote the Pancha-siddhantika which summarises 5 alias astronomical treatises namely the Surya Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vashishtha Siddhant and Paitamaha Siddhanta.

  • He gave trigonometric formulas and improved the accuracy of sine tables of Aryabhatta.

  • He explained the shifting of equinoxes and the nature of scattering of light.

  • He was also the author of Brihat Samhita and Brihat Jataka.

  • He gave theories on earthquake and explained that how the termites may indicate water underground.

Brahmagupta (598 - 670 CE)

Brahmagupta was an Indian mathematician and astronomer. He was the first person to give rules to compute with zero.

  • He was the author of the “Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta”, a theoretical treatise on mathematics and astronomy, and the “Khaṇḍakhādyaka”, which was a more practical text.

  • He worked on mathematics and astronomy and he is supposed to have invented many astronomical instruments for his observations.

  • He explained that the shape of the earth is spherical and worked on the calculation of eclipses.

  • He worked on methods for calculating the distance of the heavenly bodies.

Bhaskara 1 (600 - 680 CE)

He was a mathematician who first wrote numbers in Hindu decimal system with a circle for zero.

  • he was the follower of the Aryabhatta School of astronomy and was the author of “Mahābhāskarīya” and the “Laghubhāskarīya”.

  • He worked on many trigonometric formulas and give a rational approximation of sine function.

Bhaskaracharya or Bhaskara II (1114- 1185)

Bhaskaracharya was an Indian mathematician and astronomer born in Bijapur in Karnataka.

  • His main work includes “Siddhanta Shiromani” which has four sections dealing with Arithmetics, Algebra, Mathematics of planets, and Spheres.

  • He worked on differential calculus and algebra.

Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology in the modern era

C.V. Raman

CV Raman is considered as one of the most famous scientists of India who pioneered has worked on the scattering of light.

  • CV Raman was awarded Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 and with this, he became the first Asian to receive any Nobel Prize in Sciences.

  • He worked on the acoustics of musical instruments and investigated the harmonic nature of the sound of Indian drums such as mridangam and tabla.

  • He discovered that when light transverses through any transparent medium some of the reflected light rays changes its wavelength. This phenomenon later came to be known as Raman scattering which is the result of the Raman effect.

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya

He was an engineer, scholar, statesman and the Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918.

  • He is known for his contribution in the construction of Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya which converted the surrounding barren lands into fertile fields suitable for farming.

  • Sir M. Visvesvaraya has been awarded India's highest honor the Bharat Ratna for his contribution in the field of Engineering and education.

  • He Invented ‘automatic sluice gates’ and ‘block irrigation system’.

  • His birthday September 15th is celebrated as Engineer’s day in India.

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan

He was born on May 18, 1929, in the suburb of Chennai. He was a globally famous space scientist and was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

  • He was known for his works for the design and fabrication of ultralight aircraft and sailboats.

  • His observations were helpful in unraveling the mysteries of galaxy structures, interstellar clouds, and other celestial bodies.

Jagdish Chandra Bose

Jagdish Chandra Bose was born on November 30, 1858, and Bikrampur, West Bengal. He was a man of many talents and worked as a polymath, physicist, archaeologist, biologist, and botanist.

  • He studied radio and microwave optics and also worked on the study of plants.

  • Jagdish Chandra Bose was the first person to use semiconductor junction for detecting radio signals. He was reluctant for patenting his works and made his inventions and works freely available for others to further develop.

  • He invented ‘Crescograph’ for measuring plant response to various stimuli, and he hypothesized that plants have the ability to feel pain and affection.

Satyendra Nath Bose

He was born on 1st January 1894 in Calcutta. He is known for his work in quantum mechanics.

  • He is known for his works in the class of particles ‘Bosons’ named after Satyendra Nath Bose by Paul Dirac to commensurate his work.

  • He is known for the Bose-Einstein theory and a kind particle in an atom known as Boson.

  • He has been awarded Padma vibhushan in 1954, the second highest civilian award of India.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

He was born on 19th October 1910 and Lahore. He was known for his works in Physics, astrophysics, and applied mathematics.

  • Chandrasekhar was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his mathematical theory of black holes.

  • The Chandrasekhar limit is named after him.

  • He was known for his works on radiation of energy from stars especially from white dwarf stars i.e. the dying fragments of stars.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha

He was born on 30th October 1909 in Bombay. He played an important role in the development of Quantum theory.

  • He was the first Chairman of the atomic energy commission of India. He started his career in nuclear physics from Britain and later return to India and started working for India's nuclear energy programme.

  • He is known as the father of Indian Nuclear power and he suggested that atomic reactor should be used for peaceful purposes for reducing India's misery and poverty.

  • He received several awards in his lifetime such as Adams award, Padma Bhushan, an honorary fellow of American Academy of Arts and sciences etc.

Meghnad Saha

He was born on 6th October 1893 Dhaka, Bangladesh and was a renowned physicist of that time.

  • He worked in the arena of thermal ionization of elements and later developed the Saha equation. The equation is used for interpreting spectra of stars in Astrophysics.

  • He has been credited for inventing an instrument for measuring the weight and pressure of solar rays.

  • He was the chief architect of the river planning in India and prepared the plan for the Damodar Valley project.

Srinivasa Ramanujan

Was born on 22nd December 1887 in Tamilnadu. He is considered to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century.

  • Without any formal training in pure mathematics, Ramanujan made extraordinary contributions for mathematical analysis, number theory infinite series and continued fractions.

  • At the age of 13, mastered the book on advanced trigonometry written by S.L. Loney and later discovered sophisticated theorems on his own.

Vikram Sarabhai

He was born on August 12, 1919, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is known as the “father of India's space program”.

  • He played an important role in setting up the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by convincing the government of India about the importance of space program after the launch Russian Sputnik.

  • He received Padma Bhushan award in 1966, and the Padma vibhushan in 1972 after his death.

  • He also plays an important role in the establishment of Institutes like Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM -A) and the Nehru Foundation for Development.

  • A crater in the moon (in the sea of serenity) was named after him by the International Astronomical Union to honor his contribution to science.

Salim Ali

He was born on 2nd November 1896 in Mumbai. He was an Ornithologist and naturalist who worked for conducting systematic bird service across India.

  • The bird books of Salim Ali helped in the development of Ornithology in the Indian subcontinent.

  • He is known as the “Birdman of India” who played an important role behind the Bombay Natural History Society.

  • He played an important role in the creation of Bharatpur bird century and averted the destruction of Silent Valley National Park.

  • In 1930, he a published research paper about the nature and activities of the Weaver Bird.

  • He was awarded Padma Vibhushan, India second-highest civilian honor in 1976.

Har Gobind Khorana

He was born on 9th January 1922 at Raipur village in West Punjab. He was an American molecular biologist of Indian origin.

  • In 1968 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Robert W. Holley and Marshall W. Nirenberg for research of nucleotides in nucleic acids, which carry the genetic code of the cell which controls the cell’s synthesis of proteins.

  • He was the first person to synthesize an artificial gene in a living cell. This became the foundation for the research in Biotechnology and gene therapy.

  • In 2007, Department of Biotechnology, and the Indo-Us Science and Technology forum jointly created the Khorana program. Idioms to build a seamless community of scientist, social entrepreneurs, and industrialists in India and the United States.

Birbal Sahni

He was born on 14th November 1891 in West Punjab. He was a paleobotanist and he studied the fossils of the Indian subcontinent.

  • He was also a sociologist who worked in archaeology.

  • In 1936, he was elected a Fellow of Royal Society of London (FRS), the highest British scientific honor which was awarded to an Indian botanist for the first time.

  • He founded the palaeobotanical society which later established the Institute of paleobotany on September 10, 1946.

APJ Abdul Kalam

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15th October 1931. He worked as an aerospace engineer with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

  • At the start of his career, He designed a small helicopter for the Indian Army. In 1969 he was transferred to ISRO where he became the project director of India's first indigenous satellite launch vehicle (SLV-III).

  • APJ Abdul Kalam is known as the “Missile Man of India” for his contributions on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.

  • He played an important role in India's nuclear test at Pokhran II in 1998.

  • He became the 11th President of India and served from 2000 to 2007.

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