"We owe a lot to the ancient Indians, teaching us how to count. Without which most modern scientific discoveries would have been impossible." – Albert Einstein
The Indian civilisation is one of the oldest in the world and she has contributed a lot to the world in various fields. Here are some of the inventions that are still being used today.
1. The number zero
The mathematical digit 'zero' is one of the most important inventions of all time. Mathematician Aryabhata was the first person to create a symbol for zero and it was through his efforts that mathematical operations like addition and subtraction started using the digit, zero. The concept of zero and its integration into the place-value system also enabled one to write numbers, no matter how large, by using only ten symbols
2. The Decimal system
India gave the ingenious method of expressing all numbers using the decimal system. In this system, each symbol received a value of position as well as an absolute value. Due to the simplicity of the decimal notation, which facilitated calculation, this system made the using mathematics in practical inventions much faster and easier.
3. Binary numbers
Binary numbers is the basic language in which computer programs are written using a set of two numbers, 1 and 0; the combinations of which are called bits and bytes. The binary number system was first described by the Vedic scholar Pingala, in his book Chandahśāstra, which is the earliest known Sanskrit treatise on prosody (the study of poetic metres and verse).
4. The Ruler
Excavations at Harappans sites discovered rulers made from ivory and shell. Marked out in minute subdivisions with amazing accuracy, the calibrations correspond closely with the hasta increments of 1 3/8 inches, traditionally used in the ancient architecture of South India. Ancient bricks found at the excavation sites have dimensions that correspond to the units on these rulers.
5. The theory of the atom
One of the most notable scientists of the ancient India was Kanad who thought up the atomic theory centuries before John Dalton (he introduced the atomic theory in the field of Chemistry) was even born. He speculated the existence of "anu" ( small indestructible particles), much like an atom. He also stated that anu can have two states - absolute rest and a state of motion. He further held that atoms of same substance combined with each other in a specific and synchronized manner to produce "dvyanuka" (diatomic molecules) and "tryanuka" (triatomic molecules).
6. Wootz Steel
A pioneering steel alloy matrix developed in India, Wootz steel is a crucible steel characterized by a pattern of bands that was known in the ancient world by many different names such as Ukku, Hindwani and Seric Iron. This steel was used to make the famed Damascus swords of yore that could cleave a free-falling silk scarf or a block of wood with the same ease. Produced by the Tamils of the Chera Dynasty, the finest steel of the ancient world was made by heating black magnetite ore in the presence of carbon in a sealed clay crucible kept inside a charcoal furnace.
7. Smelting of zinc
India was the first to smelt zinc by the distillation process, an advanced technique derived from a long experience of ancient alchemy. The ancient Persians had also attempted to reduce zinc oxide in an open furnace but had failed. Zawar in the Tiri valley of Rajasthan is the world's first known ancient zinc smelting site. The distillation technique of zinc production goes back to the 12th Century AD and is an important contribution of India to the world of science.
8. Plastic surgery
Written by Sushruta in 6th Century BC, Sushruta Samhita is considered to be one of the most comprehensive textbooks on ancient surgery. The text mentions various illnesses, plants, preparations and cures along with complex techniques of plastic surgery. The Sushruta Samhita 's most well-known contribution to plastic surgery is the reconstruction of the nose, known also as rhinoplasty.
9. Cataract surgery
The first cataract surgery is said to have been performed by the ancient Indian physician Sushruta, way back in 6th century BCE. To remove the cataract from the eyes, he used a curved needle, Jabamukhi Salaka, to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. The eye would then be bandaged for a few days till it healed completely. Sushruta's surgical works were later translated to Arabic language and through the Arabs, his works were introduced to the West.
10. Iron-caused rockets
The first iron-cased rockets were developed in the 1780s by Tipu Sultan of Mysore who successfully used these rockets against the larger forces of the British East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. He crafted long iron tubes, filled them with gunpowder and fastened them to bamboo poles to create the predecessor of the modern rocket. With a range of about 2 km, these rockets were the best in the world at that time and caused as much fear and confusion as damage. Due to them, the British suffered one of their worst ever defeats in India at the hands of Tipu.
Source: The Mysterious India
Photo source: Ancient Code, Hektoen International, ancient origins, universal news network, better India, slide share, India times