__TOP 10 SCIENTIST OF ANCIENT INDIA__

__TOP 10 SCIENTIST OF ANCIENT INDIA__

__INTRODUCTION:-__

Today
we will read about the contributions made by ancient Indians in the field of
Mathematics and Science, including Medical Science, Ayurveda, Yoga, Astronomy,
Astrology, etc. You will be surprised to know that a lot of scientific
knowledge was evolved in ancient India, so many years ago.

Science
and Mathematics were highly developed during the ancient period in India.
Ancient Indians contributed immensely to the knowledge in Mathematics as well
as various branches of Science.

Let
us now take a look at some of Ancient Indian Scientists contributions in Indian
history.

**1010. **__ARYABHATTA__

__ARYABHATTA__

Aryabhatta was a fifth century mathematician,
astronomer, astrologer and physicist. He was a pioneer in the field of
mathematics. At the age of 23, he wrote Aryabhattiya, which is a summary of
mathematics of his time.

Aryabhatta showed that zero was not a numeral only but
also a symbol and a concept. Discovery of zero enabled Aryabhatta to find out
the exact distance between the earth and the moon. The discovery of zero also
opened up a new dimension of negative numerals.

Aryabhattiya were on Astronomy. Evidently, Aryabhatta
contributed greatly to the field of science too particularly Astronomy.

In ancient India, the science of astronomy was well
advanced. It was called Khagolshastra. Khagol was the famous astronomical
observatory at Nalanda, where Aryabhatta studied. In fact science of astronomy
was highly advanced and our ancestors were proud of it.

The aim behind the development of the science of
astronomy was the need to have accurate calendars, a better understanding of
climate and rainfall patterns for timely sowing and choice of crops, fixing the
dates of seasons and festivals, navigation, calculation of time and casting of
horoscopes for use in astrology.

Knowledge of astronomy, particularly knowledge of the
tides and the stars, was of great importance in trade, because of the
requirement of crossing the oceans and deserts during night time.

Disregarding the popular view that our planet earth is
‘Achala’ (immovable), Aryabhatta stated his theory that ‘earth is round and
rotates on its own axis’ He explained that the appearance of the sun moving
from east to west is false by giving examples.

One such
example was: When a person travels in a boat, the trees on the shore appear to
move in the opposite direction. He also correctly stated that the moon and the
planets shined by reflected sunlight. He also gave a scientific explanation for
solar and lunar eclipse clarifying that the eclipse were not because of Rahhu
and/or Ketu or some other rakshasa (demon).

Do you realize now, why the first satellite sent into
orbit by India has been named after Aryabhatta?

**9. 9. **__BAUDHAYAN__

__BAUDHAYAN__

Baudhayan was the first
one ever to arrive at several concepts in Mathematics, which were later
rediscovered by the western world. It is widely believed that he was also a
priest and an architect of very high standards. It is possible that
Baudhayana’s interest in Mathematical calculations stemmed more from his work
in religious matters than a keenness for mathematics as a subject itself.

The value of pi was first calculated by him.
As you know, **pi **is useful in
calculating the area and circumference of a circle. What is known as Pythagoras
theorem today is already found in Baudhayan’s Sulva Sutra (The Sulbasutras is like a guide to the
Vedas which formulate rules for constructing altars. In other words, they
provide techniques to solve mathematical problems effortlessly) which was written several years before the age of Pythagoras.

**8. 8. **__BRAHMGUPTA__

Brahmagupta (597-668AD)
was one such a genius Astronomer - Mathematician. His father Jisnugupta was an
Astrologer in the city of Bhinmal (Rajasthan). Brahmagupta too viewed himself
as an Astronomer however today he is associated with his huge contributions to
the field of Mathematics. By his affirmation, he did Mathematics or solved
problems for pleasure.

In 7th century,
Brahmgupta took mathematics to heights far beyond others. In his methods of
multiplication, he used place value in almost the same way as it is used today.
He introduced negative numbers and operations on zero into mathematics. He
wrote **Brahm Sputa Siddantika** through
which the Arabs came to know our mathematical system.

**7. 7. **__BHASKARACHARYA__

Bhaskaracharya was the
leading light of 12th Century. He was born at Bijapur, Karnataka. He is famous
for his book Siddanta Shiromani. It is divided into four sections: Lilavati
(Arithmetic), Beejaganit (Algebra), Goladhyaya (Sphere) and Grahaganit
(mathematics of planets). Bhaskara introduced Chakrawat Method or the Cyclic
Method to solve algebraic equations. This method was rediscovered six centuries
later by European mathematicians, who called it inverse cycle. In the
nineteenth century, an English man, James Taylor, translated Lilavati and made
this great work known to the world.

**6. 6. **__MAHAVIRACHARYA__

__MAHAVIRACHARYA__

There is an elaborate
description of mathematics in Jain literature (500 B.C -100 B.C). Jain gurus
knew how to solve quadratic equations. They have also described fractions,
algebraic equations, series, set theory, logarithms and exponents in a very
interesting manner. Jain Guru Mahaviracharya wrote Ganit Sara Sangraha in 850 AD.,
which is the first textbook on arithmetic in present day form. The current
method of solving Least common Multiple (LCM) of given numbers was also described
by him. Thus, long before John Napier introduced it to the world, it was
already known to Indians.

**5. 5.**__KANAD__

__KANAD__

Kanad
was a sixth century scientist of Vaisheshika School, one of the six systems of
Indian philosophy. His original name was Aulukya. He got the name Kanad,
because even as a child, he was interested in very minute particles called
“kana”. His atomic theory can be a match to any modern atomic theory. According
to Kanad, material universe is made up of kanas, (anu/atom) which cannot be seen
through any human organ. These cannot be further subdivided. Thus, they are
indivisible and indestructible. This is, of course, as you may be knowing, what
the modern atomic theory also says.

**4. 4.**__VARAHAMIHIRA__

Varahamihira
was another well-known scientist of the ancient period in India. He lived in
the Gupta period. Varahamihira made great contributions in the fields of
hydrology, geology and ecology. He was one of the first scientists to claim
that termites and plants could be the indicators of the presence of underground
water. He gave a list of six animals and thirty plants, which could indicate
the presence of water. He gave very important information regarding termites
(Deemak or insects that destroy wood), that they go very deep to the surface of
water level to bring water to keep their houses (bambis) wet.

Another
theory, which has attracted the world of science is the earthquake cloud theory
given by Varahmihira in his Brhat Samhita. The thirty second chapter of this
samhita is devoted to signs of earthquakes. He has tried to relate earthquakes
to the influence of planets, undersea activities, underground water, unusual
cloud formation and abnormal behaviour of animals.

**3. 3.**__NAGARJUNA__

Nagarjuna
was a tenth century scientist. The main aim of his experiments was to transform
base elements into gold, like the alchemists in the western world. Even though
he was not successful in his goal, he succeeded in making an element with
gold-like shine. Till date, this technology is used in making imitation
jewelry. In his treatise, Rasaratnakara, he has discussed methods for the
extraction of metals like gold, silver, tin and copper.

**2. 2.**__SUSRUTA__

__SUSRUTA__

Susruta
was a pioneer in the field of surgery. He considered surgery as “the highest
division of the healing arts and least liable to fallacy”. He studied human
anatomy with the help of a dead body. In Susruta Samhita, over 1100 diseases
are mentioned including fevers of twenty-six kinds, jaundice of eight kinds and
urinary complaints of twenty kinds. Over 760 plants are described. All parts,
roots, bark, juice, resin, flowers etc. were used. Cinnamon, sesame, peppers,
cardamom, ginger are household remedies even today.

In
Susruta Samhita, the method of selecting and preserving a dead body for the
purpose of its detailed study has also been described. The dead body of an old
man or a person who died of a severe disease was generally not considered for
studies. The body needed to be perfectly cleaned and then preserved in the bark
of a tree. It was then kept in a cage and hidden carefully in a spot in the
river. There the current of the river softened it. After seven days it was
removed from the river. It was then cleaned with a brush made of grass roots,
hair and bamboo. When this was done, every inner or outer part of the body
could be seen clearly.

Susruta’s
greatest contribution was in the fields of Rhinoplasty (plastic surgery) and
Ophthalmic surgery (removal of cataracts). In those days, cutting of nose
and/or ears was a common punishment. Restoration of these or limbs lost in wars
was a great blessing. In Susruta Samhita, there is a very accurate step-by-step
description of these operations.

Surprisingly,
the steps followed by Susruta are strikingly similar to those followed by
modern surgeons while doing plastic surgery. Susruta Samhita also gives a
description of 101 instruments used in surgery. Some serious operations
performed included taking foetus out of the womb, repairing the damaged rectum,
removing stone from the bladder, etc. Does it not sound interesting and
wonderful?

**1.
**__CHARAK__

__CHARAK__

Charak
is considered the father of ancient Indian science of medicine. He was the Raj
Vaidya (royal doctor) in the court of Kanishka. His Charak Samhita is a
remarkable book on medicine. It has the description of a large number of
diseases and gives methods of identifying their causes as well as the method of
their treatment. He was the first to talk about digestion, metabolism and
immunity as important for health and so medical scienc. In Charak Samhita, more
stress has been laid on removing the cause of disease rather than simply
treating the illness. Charak also knew the fundamentals of Genetics. Don’t you
find it fascinating that thousands of years back, medical science was at such
an advanced stage in India.

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