Overview for The Scientific Edge: The Indian Scientist from Vedic to Modern Times
India has a rich history of scientific accomplishments. In the fifth century, nearly one millennium before Copernicus, the Indian astronomer and mathematician Aryabhata theorized that the earth spins on an axis. Likewise, in the twentieth century physicist Meghnad Sahaâ€™s ionization equation opened the door to stellar astrophysics. But Indiaâ€™s scientific achievements have occurred as flashes of brilliance rather than as a clear trajectory of progress. So how did India, with its historic university system and excellent observatories, lose its scientific edge? Cosmologist, founder director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and science fiction author Jayant V. Narlikar tracks the highs and lows of Indian science across the millennia, distinguishing fact from fiction. Through a lively narrative of breakthroughs and failures, he explores Indiaâ€™s multifaceted scientific history. Narlikar explores the glories of Indiaâ€™s scientific advances and questions the more fanciful so-called discoveries. His essays are invigorated by his excitement for new findings, and he argues passionately for preserving the true scientific temperament instead of granting legitimacy to such pseudosciences as astrology. Above all, Narlikar raises issues that both the lay person and the scientist need to consider as India seeks to lead the world in information technology and biotechnology.
Jayant V. Narlikar (Author)
Jayant V. Narlikar was born in Kolhapur, India, in 1938 and received his early education at Banaras Hindu University. He went to Cambridge University for higher studies in 1957, receiving his Ph.D in 1960 and Sc.D in 1976. After spending several years at Cambridge as a fellow of Kingâ€™s College (1963-72) and as staff member of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy (1966-72), he returned to India as a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai (1972-89). He was later invited to Pune to set up the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, of which he was the founder director from 1988 to 2003. A well-known cosmologist, Narlikar has received several awards and recognitions, including the Padmabhushan from the President of India for his research work. He has also contributed to public outreach of science, for which he has received public recognition including UNESCOâ€™s Kalinga Award.