Ideas and researches on physical concepts in India

Bag, A. K. (2015) Ideas and researches on physical concepts in India Indian Journal of History of Science, 50 (3). pp. 361-409. ISSN 0019-5235

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:

Related URL:


The ideas on physical concepts in India have changed through the centuries initiated first by guru-śisya paramparā (teacher- student relationship), and later extended further based on arieties of quests & experiments. The Vedic & Upanisadic schools (c.6500 BC - 500 BC) first expressed anguish asto how the universe was created by Gods, later on giving importance to nature, natural order and the cosmic creation. The Buddhist, Jain, Sāmkhya & Nyāyavaiśesika schools (c.501 BC - 1000 AD) gave central focus to Nature (prakrti), in place of Gods, as a limitless entity which is self-existent. The Sāmkhya recognized five elements in nature: ksiti (earth), āpa (water), tejas (fire), vāyu (air) and ākāśa (space)both at the atomic (paramāsu) and molecular (anu) level with gunas [sattva, rajas, tamas] as attributes existing in equilibrium. Emphasis on duality concept (purusa and prakrti, śiva and śakti, hara and pārvati, mercury and sulfur) by the Tantrik and Alchemical traditions was held responsible for equilibrium state.The metaphysical explanation of how the sthula-bhūta paramānus like solid, liquid,, gases, heat & light, ether etc are constituted based on tanmātrās (physical energies represented by sound, touch, colour, taste and smell) together with likeness, cause and effect relationship of the combination of the atoms is also explained. The Greek and Islamic thoughts during the period (c.1001-1800) accepted also similar atomic concepts of matter which are no better than those of the Indians. The European knowledge in physical science in the Colonial phase in India (1801-1900) opened up after great initial reluctance, and the knowledge of great stalwarts like, Copernicus (on heliocentric theory), Kepler (elliptical path of planets & planetary laws), Huygens (polarization of light), Newton (motion of body in Cartesian and Polar co-ordinates, periodic motion, law of universal gravitation, sound and its propagation, light), Galileo (telescopic observation of heavenly bodies), Oersted, Faraday & Maxwell (magnetic properties of materials, electricity, charge), Kirchhoff & Planck (radiation), Mendeleyev (periodic table) and others, infiltrated through the local initiatives influencing Indian minds. These helped to establish a Golden phase of science in India (1901-1960) with J C Bose, C V Raman, Meghnad Saha, Satyendranath Bose, S K Mitra, H J Bhabha, S Chandrasekhar and others extending the knowledge in diversified field of physical science. The work was of great order, some of which brought great international fame in global perspectives. The phase (1961–2000) was indeed a period of consolidation in India which led continued emphasis on cosmic ray research, atmospheric studies, search for sub-atomic elementary particles in the formation of building blocks of the universe, classification of forces and of elementary particles imparting importance to Model of Expanding universe with radiation against the Steady state of Big-Bang Model. The observer and observed have however created many a dilemma in present ideas and thoughts in establishing an order between the physical and biological world.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Indian National Science Academy.
Keywords:Bhabha Scattering; Big – Bang Model; Black hole; Boson; Buddhist Schools; Diode Detector; European Knowledge; Cosmic Evolution of Matter, C V Raman; Electro-magnetic Spectrum; Elementary Particles; Golden Phase of Science in India; Greek Schools; H J Bhabha; Ionization Theory; Islamic Schools; Jaina Schools; Laws of Gravitation; J C Bose; M N Saha; Nyāya-Vaiśesika School; Motion of Bodies; Nuclear Program; Origin of Universe; Periodic Table; Physical Concepts; Quantum Mechanics; Raman Effect; Response in Plants; Sāmkhya School; S Chandrasekhar; S N Bose; S K Mitra; Spectroscopic Observation; Expanding Universe & Steady State Models; Telescopic Observation; Upper Atmosphere
ID Code:99363
Deposited On:06 Apr 2016 08:21
Last Modified:06 Apr 2016 08:21

Repository Staff Only: item control page