Title Ancient Hindu Science
Subtitle Its Transmission and Impact on World Cultures (Synthesis Lectures on Engineering)
Author Alok Kumar
ISBN 9781681735306
List price USD 29.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 212
Book size 191 X 235 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Morgan & Claypool Publishers (Eurospan Group)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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To understand modern science as a coherent story, it is essential to recognize the accomplishments of the ancient Hindus. They invented our base-ten number system and zero that are now used globally, carefully mapped the sky and assigned motion to the Earth in their astronomy, developed a sophisticated system of medicine with its mind-body approach known as Ayurveda, mastered metallurgical methods of extraction and purification of metals, including the so-called Damascus blade and the Iron Pillar of New Delhi, and developed the science of self-improvement that is popularly known as yoga. Their scientific contributions made impact on noted scholars globally: Aristotle, Megasthenes, and Apollonius of Tyana among the Greeks; Al-Biruni, Al-Khwarizmi, Ibn Labban, and Al-Uqlidisi, Al-Jahiz among the Islamic scholars; Fa-Hien, Hiuen Tsang, and I-tsing among the Chinese; and Leonardo Fibbonacci, Pope Sylvester II, Roger Bacon, Voltaire and Copernicus from Europe. In the modern era, thinkers and scientists as diverse as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Carl Jung, Max Mueller, Robert Oppenheimer, Erwin Schroedinger, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Henry David Thoreau have acknowledged their debt to ancient Hindu achievements in science, technology, and philosophy.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the largest scientific organizations in the world, in 2000, published a timeline of 100 most important scientific findings in history to celebrate the new millennium. There were only two mentions from the non-Western world: (1) invention of zero and (2) the Hindu and Mayan skywatchers astronomical observations for agricultural and religious purposes. Both findings involved the works of the ancient Hindus.

The Ancient Hindu Science is well documented with remarkable objectivity, proper citations, and a substantial bibliography. It highlights the achievements of this remarkable civilization through painstaking research of historical and scientific sources. The style of writing is lucid and elegant, making the book easy to read. This book is the perfect text for all students and others interested in the developments of science throughout history and among the ancient Hindus, in particular.




Chapter 1: Introduction • The Multicultural Science • The Ancient Hindu Science • About the Book

Chapter 2: The Building Blocks of Science • Geography • The Power of Questioning: Sastràrtha (Debate) to Acquire Knowledge • Respect for Knowledge: The Role of a Guru • Smrti (Memory), An Answer to Book Burning • Yoga and Meditation for Self-Improvement

Chapter 3: The Hindu Mathematics • The Hindu Numerals • The Word-Numerals • The Place-value Notations • From Sunyatà and Neti-Neti to Zero and Infinity (Ananta) • The Binary Number System • The Fibonacci Sequence • The Square-root Operation • Algebra • Sum of a Series • Sum of a Series with ?n2 and ?n3 • Solution to a Quadratic Equation • Geometry • Transforming a Square into a Circle • Height of a Tall Object • The Value of p • The Pythagorean Theorem • Trigonometry: From Jyà to Sine • Diffusion of Hindu Mathematics to Other Cultures • The Middle East • China • Europe • Support of Pope Sylvester II

Chapter 4: Astronomy • Heliocentric Solar System • Ujjain, Greenwich of the Ancient World • Diurnal Motion of the Earth • Hindu Calendar • Hindu Cosmology • Diffusion of Hindu Astronomy • The Middle East • China • Europe

Chapter 5: Physics • Space (Ãkâsa) • Time • Matter and Mass • Conservation of matter • Atom (Paramânu) • Gravitation and Ocean Tides

Chapter 6: Chemistry • Mining and Metallurgy • The Iron Pillar of New Delhi • Wootz or Damascus Steel • Fermentation

Chapter 7: Biology • Sacred Rivers and Mountains: Ecological Perspectives • Sacred Tulsi and Sacred Cow • Vegetarianism • Life in Plants: Similarities with Humans

Chapter 8: Medicine • Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacies, and Hospitals • Ayurveda • Panca-karma • Surgery Plastic Surgery • Cataract Surgery • Carpenter Ants Suturing and Leech Therapy • Hindu Medicine in Other World Cultures

Chapter 9: The Global Impact • Impacts during the Ancient and Medieval Periods • Impact on Arabia • Impact on China • Impact on Greek Science and Philosophy • Impacts During the Modem Period • Emerson and Thoreau-Two Celebrated American Scholars • Impact on Physics

A Timeline of the Hindu Manuscripts


Author’s Biography



About the Author:

Alok Kumar, State University of New York at Oswego

Alok Kumar is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of physics at the State University of New York at Oswego. He was born and educated in India. Later, he taught at California State University at Long Beach and received the Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Award for excellence in teaching and research in 1990. He has been teaching in the American higher education for about four decades. In Oswego, Kumar has received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, a lifetime SUNY award, in 1997 and the President Award for Creative and Scholarly Activity or Research, a lifetime award, in 2002. He is a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, and a NOVA/NASA fellow. Kumar is active in the fields of atomic physics, chemical physics, history of science, and science education.


He has about 75 peer-reviewed publications, and has authored/coauthored three books:(1) Science in the Medieval World, (2) Sciences of the Ancient Hindus: Unlocking Nature in the Pursuit of Salvation, and (3) A History of Science in World Cultures: Voices of Knowledge All three books deal with the cultural heritage studies in science, including the non-Western cultures. Kumar believes that, to understand modern science, it is essential to recognize that many of the most fundamental scientific principles are drawn from knowledge amassed by ancient civilizations. Kumar strongly believes that, in a gadget-filled world, scientific literacy is becoming an essential requirement for everyday life. It is the duty of a scientist to disseminate scientific knowledge to the general public. He has done so through articles and interviews in the popular media, making documentary films on archaeological sites that are rich in science, offering institutes for the underprivileged and underrepresented middle school students to pursue a career in science and technology, and lecturing about science for the general public.


There are about 120 articles/reports about his activities in the popular media. This includes press releases from Reuters, the Press Trust of India, articles in The Washington Post, Family Life, The Scientists, The Post Standard, The Palladium Times, India Abroad, India West, The South Asian Times, Hinduism Today, AramcoWorld, Organiser, and radio interviews.

Target Audience:

This book is the perfect text for all students and others interested in the developments of science throughout history and among the ancient Hindus, in particular.


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