Monday, 15 October 2018




The introduction of English education in the 19th century marked the beginning of a scientific revival in India. Interest in science had laid mostly in abeyance during the periods of the Muslim rulers. Some progress was made during the regime of Emperor Akbar in the field of Culture and the Arts. 

It was only in the British period that scientific pursuits (at least in theory) were taken up in the country Science was prescribed as one of the compulsory subjects of study from the middle classes onwards, although the number of schools and colleges was limited during the British period. Of course wherever schools and colleges were functioning, science laboratories came to be established in them. 

The revival of interest, in science was among other things based on the fact that the Indian Youth gradually came to realize the value of science from the British rulers who with the help of better weapons of aggression at their disposal could rule such a vast sub-continent as India. 

They, however, let the educationists of India introduce science subjects in the educational institutions of all categories—schools, colleges, and universities. The British Government introduced science at national level laboratories and research institutions. These were established to provide Indian students scientific and technical education. 

The impetus in scientific education was given by learned societies like the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, by Scientific Surveys, by Government scientific officers. The pioneering work of four government survey departments helped to lay the foundations for the development of science. 

The trigonometrically Survey, renamed the Survey of India (1878) was responsible for mapping the sub-continent. The Botanical Survey (1889) and the Zoological Survey, (1866) embarked on an appraisal of Indian flora and fauna; and the Geological Survey of India initiated an assessment of mineral resources. 

By the beginning of the 20th century, any Indian universities had developed post-graduate departments in various sciences. The Government of India established research institutes, among them the imperial Agricultural Research Institutes, Pusa, the Central Research institute for Medical Research, Kasauli, and the Forest Research institute, Dehradun. 

In addition the then provinces started agricultural and medical research institutes and private benefaction financed the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. The Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science and came into being institute in Calcutta also came into being.

The early decades of the 20th century witnessed the formation of scientific societies. The Indian Science Congress Association(1914) providing a forum for research workers national academies the Indian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, came into being in 1930's. The first of the century was also notable for achievements by individual scientists, like those of the mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan, the plant physiologist, Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose and the physicist Sir Venkata Raman (who also won the Nobel prize), Sir Ronald Ross for inventing a medicine for eradication of Malaria, Bir Bal Sahni for contribution to Pale botany. 

Important as these developments were, scientific research in British India hardly had an impact on national development. Research was primarily academic and largely the concern of the talented few in universities and research institutions. The exigencies of the two World Wars and the dawn of independence changed the picture entirely. 

An adequate appraisal of the scientific resources of the country was taken up and attempts were made to establish viable organizations for promoting research. The tempo of technological education was accelerated and institutes with post-graduate facilities for research in engineering and medicine were established. 

There are three autonomous All-India scientific councils, each with its network of laboratories and stations and subordinate institutes, dealing with problems of research and development: the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. The Atomic Energy Department was concerned with research and development of nuclear energy, and the responsibility for research in the defense field vests in the Defense Science Laboratories. 

Moreover, the technical departments under various ministries contain research divisions. Among other institutions mention may be made of Indian Bureau of Mines, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, and the Indian Standards Institution. The Indian University Grants Commission besides supporting and encouraging researches in the universities and institutions has created advanced centers of research in selected disciplines. 

Research Since 1960's: The 1960s saw an increase in the tempo of research in different fields of basic and engineering sciences, much of it in the Public Sector Undertakings. 

Particularly rapid changes took place in electronics and supersonic aircraft. Traditionally in basic sciences a strong school of spectroscopy existed in India, and emphasis in this area shifted to the study of defect sensitive studies of crystals. 

Notable contribution was made to the understanding of polytypic and polymorphism, electronic and ionic processes in non-metallic crystals, optical and transport properties of crystals and high temperature properties of newly emerged metals. Advances were also made in solid state technology. Zircon ate titan ate crystals were developed as well as different types of nickel-based high temperature alloys used in critical parts of missiles and aircrafts. 

Atomic Energy and Space: India's three atomic reactors are being fully used for research, and three power stations were under way. Isotopes useful in the research, agriculture and industry are produced and sold within and outside the country. Radio-isotopes have been exported by India to the United States, Australia, France, Sweden and Thailand. 

On May 18, 1974 India exploded its first "nuclear device" underground in a desert area of Rajasthan. It was officially described a peaceful nuclear explosion experiment. Less than a year later, on April 19, 1975, India's first unmanned satellite was launched into earth orbit on a Soviet Rocket from a base in the then USSR. The Satellite called Aryabhatta carried three experiments. However, power failure curtailed its operations after four days.

A rocket launching station known as the 'Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) has significantly advanced understanding equatorial meteorology, particularly in the Indian Ocean region. Facilities have been set up at Thumba in collaboration with scientific organizations of the United States, the Soviet Union and France. Thumba conducts research in the study of aerodynamics, the composition and temperature of the upper atmosphere, and in X-ray astronomy. 

The main objectives of the Indian Space Programs are research in the upper atmosphere, including studies of the neutral particles and the ion composition of the ionosphere, investigation of the magnetic and electric fields, associated with electro jet and variation in relation to solar activity, study of the meteorology of the stratosphere, and research in aspects of astronomy. 



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