Science Watch- Indian Science Congress & Indian Science through Ages !!!


Indian Science Congress

Background :-PM’s inaugurates  103rd session of Indian Science Congress

Important Remarks:-

In a world of resource constraints and competing claims, we have to be smart in defining our priorities. And, it is especially important in India, where challenges are many and the scale is enormous – from health and hunger to energy and economy.

India to achieve our target of adding 175 GW of renewable generation by 2022.

We have to develop climate resilient agriculture. We must understand the impact of climate change on our weather, biodiversity, glaciers, and oceans; and, how to adjust to them. We must strengthen our ability to forecast natural disasters.

For the first time in human history, we are in an urban century. By the middle of this century, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. A little less than 3.0 billion people will join the existing 3.5 billion urban dwellers. And, 90% of the increase will come from developing countries.

Many urban clusters in Asia will exceed the population of mid-sized countries elsewhere in the world.

More than 50% of India will be living in urban habitats by 2050. And, by 2025, India may already have more than 10% of the global urban population.

Studies suggest that nearly 40% of the global urban population lives in informal settlements, or slums, where they face a range of health and nutritional challenges.

Cities are the major engines of economic growth, employment opportunities and prosperity. But, cities account for more than two-thirds of global energy demand and result in up to 80% of global greenhouse gas emission.

Oceans occupy more than 70% of our planet; and, over 40% of humanity and 60% of the world’s largest cities are found within 100 kilometers of the coast.

Ocean is critical to India’s future, too, with over 1300 islands, a 7500 km coastline and 2.4 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone.

Five Es

Economy – when we find cost effective and efficient solutions

Environment – when our carbon footprint is the lightest and the impact on the ecology is the least possible

Energy – when our prosperity relies less on energy; and the energy we use keeps our skies blue and our earth green.

Empathy – when our efforts are in tune with our culture, circumstances and social challenges.

Equity – when science advances inclusive development and improves the welfare of the weakest.

Indian Science Congress Association:-

The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon.


Indian Science through Ages-Comprehensive outlook


Prelude- This article is not meant to be remembered fully, however , if you go through it , it will help if any questions comes in this regard which we think  is very likely .This gives a general perspective on how the Indian science has progressed.The dates are given to help you develop a map in mind  and associate it chronologically without necessarily remembering the dates.

Ancient India:-

Astronomy:-

  • Arya Bhatta’s Aryabhattiya is concise text containing 121 verses. Explained Sonar and Lunar eclipse.
  • Varahamihira in Panch Siddhantika  gives the summary of five schools of astronomy present in his time

Mathematics:-

  • The town planning of Harappa shows that the people possessed a good knowledge of measurement and geometry. By third century AD mathematics developed as a separate stream of study. Indian mathematics is supposed to have originated from the Sulvasutras.
  • Apastamba in second century BC, introduced practical geometry involving acute angle, obtuse angle and right angle. This knowledge helped in the construction of fire altars where the kings offered sacrifices
  • The three main contributions in the field of mathematics were the notation system, the decimal system and the use of zero
  • Brahmagupta’s Brahmasputa Siddhanta is the very first book that mentioned ‘zero’ as a number, hence, Brahmagupta is
    considered as the man who found zero
  • Aryabhatta discovered algebra and also formulated the area of a triangle, which led to the origin of Trignometry.
  • Brahmagupta the great 7th century mathematician has given a description of negative numbers as debts and positive numbers as fortunes, which shows that ancient Bharatiyas knew the utility of mathematics for practical trade.

Medicine:-

  • Diseases, cure and medicines were mentioned for the first time in the Atharva Veda.
  • Takshila and Varanasi emerged as centres of medicine and learning.
  • The two important texts in this field are Charaksamhita by Charak and Sushrutsamhita by Sushruta.
  • Sushruta was a pioneer of this surgery.The surgeons in ancient India were familiar with plastic surgery (repair of noses, ears and lips).

Metallurgy:-

  • The glazed potteries and bronze and copper artefacts found in the Indus valley excavations point towards a highly developed metallurgy.
  • The vedic people were aware of fermenting grain and fruits, tanning leather and the process of dyeing.
  • The iron pillar in the Qutub Minar complex is indicative of the high quality of alloying that was being done.
  • Textile dyeing was popular. The Ajanta frescoes reflect on the quality of colour. These paintings have survived till date.

Geography:-

  • Lothal, a site in Gujarat has the remains of a dockyard proving that trade flourished in those days by sea.
  • In the early medieval period with the development of the concept of tirtha and tirtha yatra, a vast mass of geographical information was accumulated.
  • They were finally compiled as parts of Puranas. In many cases separate sthala purana was also compiled.

Medieval India:-

Biology:-

  • Hamsadeva compiled Mrga-pasi-sastra in the thirteenth century which gives a general, though not always scientific account of some of the beasts and birds of hunting.
  • Jahangir, in his Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, recorded his observations and experiments of weeding and hybridisation. He described about thirty-six species of animals.
  • As a naturalist, Jahangir was interested in the study of plants and his court artists in their floral portraiture describe some fifty-seven plants.

Mathematics:-

      • Ganitasara by Sridhara and Lilavati by Bhaskara
      • Ganesh Daivajna produced Buddhivilasini, a commentary on Lilavati, containing a number of illustrations.
      • Nilkantha Jyotirvid, a courtier of Akbar, compiled Tajik, introducing a large number of Persian technical terms
      • Akbar ordered the introduction of mathematics as a subject of study, among others in the educational system.

Chemistry:-

Before the introduction of writing paper, ancient literature was preserved generally on palm leaves in South India and birch-bark (bhoj-patra) in Kashmir and other northern regions of the country.

During Tipu’s time, Mysore possessed a paper-making factory, producing a special type of paper that had a gold surface.

Tuzuk-i–Baburi gives an account of the casting of cannons.

Ain-i-Akbari speaks of the ‘Regulations of the Perfume Office of Akbar’. The attar of roses was a popular perfume,
the discovery of which is attributed to the mother of Nurjahan.

Medicine:-

The Sarangdhara Samhita recommends use of opium for medicines.

The rasachikitsa system, dealt principally with a host of mineral medicines including metallic preparations

The Tuhfat-ul-Muminin was a Persian treatise written by Muhammad Munin in seventeenth century which discusses
the opinions of physicians.

The Unani  is an important system of medicine which flourished in India in the medieval period

Hakim Diya Muhammad compiled a book, Majinye Diyae, incorporating the Arabic, Persian and Ayurvedic medical knowledge.

The Tibbi Aurangzebi, dedicated to Aurangzeb, is based on Ayurvedic sources

Agriculture:-

Tobacco, chillies, potato, guava, custard apple, cashew and pineapple were the important new plants which made India their home in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Systematic mango grafting was introduced by the Jesuits of Goa in the middle of the sixteenth century

In the medieval period, agriculture was placed on a solid foundation by the State which brought about a system of land measurement and land classification, beneficial both to the rulers and to the tillers.

Modern India:-

Science can be defined as any systematic activity that seeks to gain knowledge about the physical world. Technology is that activity which seeks to put this knowledge to productive use.

In 1971, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) was set up to promote new areas of science and technology

Agriculture:-

ICAR(Indian Council for Agricultural Research ) has been playing a key role in the scientific education of the farmers as well as
others engaged in different sectors of agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry.

The challenges that lie ahead in agriculture are in the areas of increasing the yields of rice,pulses, oilseeds and many cash crops; initiating plantations and promoting social forestry; and shifting from agriculture based on chemical fertilizers to organic fertilizers.

M.S. Swaminathan’s contribution to green revolution is well known.

Industry:-

Two government organisations, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Defence Research and Development
Orgnisation (DRDO) cover between them a wide range of science and technology research for civil and defence purposes.

A large number of items have emerged from CSIR laboratories for industrial production, such as, indigenous agricultural machinery, chemicals, drugs and pesticides, products in the areas of food technology, furnished leather goods, glass and
ceramics, colour television, and receiver sets.

Nuclear Energy-

India’s aim is to utilise nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Since the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1948, India has made significant progress in the field of nuclear technology

In 1957, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) was established at Trombay.

Nuclear power stations have already been established at Tarapur(Maharashtra), Kota (Rajasthan), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Narora (UP) and Kakrapar(Gujarat)

Space Technology:-

Launching of the first Indian space satellite Aryabhatta in 1975 and then Bhaskara I and Bhaskara II from the Soviet Union to recent Mars Orbiter Mission and Chandrayaan, Indian space capability has grown multi-fold.

Apart from this the modern achievements in Science is countless and almost difficult to jot down every details.However it is important to note down few scientists and their achievement in Modern India.

SRINIVAS RAMANUJAN (1887-1920)

He found a book ‘Orders of Infinity’ written by G. H. Hardy. He wrote a letter to him in which he mentioned 120 theorems and formulae. Hardy was quick to recognise his genius and he responded by arranging for him a passage to London. Despite his lack of required qualification he was allowed to enroll at Trinity College from where he got his Bachelor of Science degree in less than two years.

He has published brilliant research papers on  Bernoulli Numbers.

Trivia- A movie is being filmed on his life called – “The Man Who Knew Infinity” now

CHANDRASEKHARA V. RAMAN (1888-1970)

Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.He was the first Asian to receive this award.

*Read Only in case you are interested :-

Raman Effect :- When a beam of monochromatic (having single colour) light passes through a transparent substance, it scatters. Raman studied the broken light. He found that there were two spectral lines of very low intensity (strength) parallel to the incident monochromatic light. This showed that broken light was not monochromatic, though the incident light was
monochromatic. Thus a great phenomenon hidden in nature was revealed to him. This phenomenon became famous as Raman Effect and spectral lines in the scattered light as Raman Lines. While scientists had been debating over the question whether light was like waves or like particles, the Raman Effect proved that light is made up of particles known as photons.

JAGDISH CHANDRA BOSE 1858-1937

Dr. Bose is famous all over the world as the inventor of Crescograph that can record even the millionth part of a millimeter of plant growth and movement.

Besides Crescograph and other Bose instruments, his wireless inventions too antedate those of Marconi. He was the first to invent a wireless coherer (radio signal detector) and an instrument for indicating the refraction of electric waves.

HOMI JEHANGIR BHABHA (1909-1966)

Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a great scientist. He led India into atomic age. He is called the father of Indian Nuclear Science

DR. VIKRAM AMBALAL SARABHAI (1919-1970)

Dr. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai is another great genius of modem India. He was the main personality behind the launching of India’s first satellite Aryabhatta.

Dr. Sarabhai had a multifaceted personality. He was a great industrialist. Today, there are many industries founded by him such as Sarabhai Chemicals, Sarabhai Glass, Sarabhai Geigy Ltd., Sara Bhai Merck Ltd. and many others.

He also helped in saving crores of rupees for India by starting the mission of manufacturing military hardware and producing
antibiotics and penicillin in India which were being imported from abroad.

DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM

Dr. Kalam served in Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1963 to 1982. At Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, he developed the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV 3), which put the satellite Rohini into orbit.

In 1982, as Director, Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), he was given the responsibility of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He developed five projects for defence services – Prithvi, Trishul, Akash,Nag and Agni.

The light weight carbon material designed for Agni has been used to make calipers for the polio-affected. The material has
reduced the weight of calipers to 400 grams from 4 kgs. It is a great blessing for human beings. The material has also been used for making spring like coils called stents, which are used in Balloon Angioplasty for treating heart patients.

C.N. Rao:-

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao is one of the world’s foremost solid state and materials chemists.

*Read Only if  you understand  – Rao was one of the earliest to synthesize two-dimensional oxide materials such as La2CuO4. His work has led to a systematic study of compositionally controlled metal-insulator transitions. Such studies have had a profound impact in application fields such as colossal magneto resistance and high temperature superconductivity. Oxide semiconductors have unusual promise. He has made immense contributions to nanomaterials over the last two decades, besides his work on hybrid materials.


NATGRID

Background :- In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Pathankot , Govt. is mulling to revive NATGRID.

About:-

According to the existing plan, NATGRID will become a secure centralised database to stream sensitive information from 21 sets of data sources such as banks, credit cards, visa, immigration and train and air travel details, as well as from various intelligence agencies. The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case-to-case basis, and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism

NATGRID was among the ambitious slew of intelligence reforms undertaken in the wake of the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. Like NATGRID, most of these proposed reforms in the security establishment have not fully materialised.

In a data-driven, digitised world, it would be foolhardy to ignore the power of big data and its potential to provide real time tip-offs and predictive intelligence to deal with the terrorist threat.

Social media and other platforms have become recruitment sites and propaganda machines for terrorist groups, and formal banking channels are used as much as informal ones to transact terror funding.

In those same oceans of information are trends and information that could avert terrorist strikes. However, appreciation of the power of digital databases to tackle terror must be accompanied by deep concern about their possible misuse.

Possible issues of Right to Privacy:-

When so much sensitive information about individuals is available on a single source, the potential for its misuse would dramatically go up.

The real issue lies in finding the real balance between the necessity of surveillance and right to privacy.India has seen both, tyranny of unelected and elected , and the length to which an individual can go to hold on to his/her powers.Hence , this calls for a greater caution .

The Aadhaar card is already under the scanner of the supreme court , which has kept it as  a non-mandatory document.Moreover NETRA (NEtwork TRaffic Analysis) developed by DRDO is a monitoring system.

On the contrary, as much as we love our right to privacy it is undeniable that internet is used as a vehicle of terrorist propaganda ,coordination and recruitment.

Hence , to safe-guard the people, it almost became necessary on parts of the GOVT. to deploy mass surveillance system.

The most probable and best course of action would be to have an independent body/commission headed by a Supreme Court judge who should overlook the usage of data and how it is used and the commission’s recommendation and approval should be the only way for the security agency to use the data to carry out operation and persecution.

There also can be better alternative and in order to stop data abuse , independent authority seems a must.

 


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By | 2017-02-13T21:08:16+00:00 January 4th, 2016|editorials, Science|5 Comments
  • captain

    no daily quiz??

    • Due to demo test on 10 dec, we are withholding the MCQs , however we will soon be providing it.

  • Very good coverage of Scientific developments in India. Thanks

  • Azhagu

    Good work !!