Essay on the rise of Science and Technology during the Gupta period

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During the Gupta age many achievements were recorded in the field of mathematics and astronomy were cultivated. Illustrious figures like Aryabhatta and Barahamihira flourished during this age. Aryabhatta wrote his treatise Aryabhattiyam in 499 A.D., which was the first to treat mathematics as a separate subject dealing with arithmetic, geometry, algebra and probably trigonometry. He was the first Indian astronomer to discover that the earth was a sphere and rotated on its axis. His calculation of the size of the earth was very near to modern estimation.

In his famous book Surysiddhanta he explains that the lunar eclipse was due to the shadow of the earth falling on the moon. His unique contribution to the world of science was to place the value of numbers from 1 to 9 and the use of zero and the consequent evolution of the decimal system. Hence, it is no wonder that the first Indian satellite sent to the space was named after him.

Another astronomer and natural scientist was Barahamihira. He divided astronomy into three branches – Tanta (astronomy and mathematics), Hora (horoscope) and Samhita (astrology). His work, Brihat-Samhita is an encyclopedia on astronomy and Brihatjataka and Laghujataka works on astrology. Aryabhatta and Barahamihira were well acquainted with the contemporary Greek astronomy and their works clearly contain many Greek technical terms.

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Latadeva was a well-known scientist and a disciple of Aryabhatta. He wrote Paulisa and Romaka Siddhanta, Brahmagupta was another famous astronomer and mathematician who anticipated Newton by declaring that “all things fall to the earth by law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to attract and keep things.” His Brahmagupta Sidhanta was a great work.

The period showed a keen interest in medical science. The earlier works Charaka Samhita of Charaka and Susruta Samhita of Susruta were considered guidebooks on medicine and surgery. The Ashtanga-Samgraha by Vagbhata was a systematic summary of Charaka and Sustuta.The Navanitakamwas another medical work on recipes, formulas and prescriptions. Palakapya was the author of Hastayurveda, a treatise on veterinary science dealing with diseases of elephants.

Chemistry and metallurgy made striking progress during the period. The rustless Iron Pillar of Mehrauli in Delhi shows the progress of metallurgy during the priod. The pillar even with huge structure of (24 feet height and 40 C.M. diameters) has withstand the vavages of time for more that 1500 years. A number of bronze and copper images of Buddha have also survived. Hieun Tsang reports that he saw a 25 meter high copper statue of Buddha.

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