Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fwd: Kaṇāda – The Greatest Unsung Indian


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Kaṇāda is perhaps the greatest physicist before Newton as he anticipated most of Newton's laws of motion.
The names of Indian sages and scientists are well-known to scholars and to the literate layperson. High praise has been given to astronomers and mathematicians ranging from Baudhāyana to Ramanujan, and poets and philosophers from Vyāsa to Aurobindo. To give just one example, the famous linguist Leonard Bloomfield called Pāṇini "one of the greatest monuments of human intelligence."
Sadly, one sage who is largely unsung is Kaṇāda, son of Ulūka, the author of the Vaiśeṣika Sūtra. Generally believed to have lived around 600 BC, he is credited with the idea of the atom as a passing footnote in history books. In A.L. Basham's well-regarded The Wonder that Was India, he gets cursory mention in one line.
In my own study of the Vaiśeṣika, I have become convinced that Kaṇāda is perhaps the greatest physicist before Newton. As I show in this column, he anticipated most of Newton's laws of motion. Further, he attempted something that no physicist to date has dared to do: he created a formal system that includes space, time, matter, as well as observers.
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1 comment:

SS said...

Yes, we also invented the laser, microprocessor, jet engine, IC engine, personal computer, GPS, electricity, cure for cancer etc..etc /sarc. But amazingly now we cannot even manufacture a freaking assault rifle for our troops and law enforcement or a decent PC. This chest thumping among Hindu Nationalists is pathetic. We should focus on the current sorry state of our nation and work hard to fix it rather than bragging about what we did 1,500 years ago.