IIT-Kharagpur’s Course to Connect Ancient India to Modern Sciences


Course to find out the contribution by Indian science and technology to the modern sciences and show how modern sciences can be used to look at heritage

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur is looking to establish a connection between ancient India’s science and technology and modern sciences by launching a course on history of science and technology in ancient India. The study of history of science and technology of India from ancient times to colonial times is a critical component of IIT Kharagpur’s Science & Heritage Initiative (SANDHI).

Civilisational heritage

This course is directed towards research, documentation, preservation and dissemination of the rich confluence of our civilisational heritage in science, technology, culture, language, architecture, design and its complicated connections with the rest of the world.

At most IITs, research projects are being pursued on ancient Indian science and technology but nothing has transformed into courses for students as yet. The course would give participants an overview of some of the chief landmarks in the development of science in India, especially in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry and medicine.

Vedic and post-Vedic texts

The syllabus covers classical Indian astronomy and its transmission, global influences; mathematics in Vedic and post-Vedic texts, the Kerala School of Mathematics, and traditions of computational techniques. Other components include medicine and health sciences and technology, including ayurveda, ayurgenomics—an offshoot of the study of ayurveda with genetics—yoga psychology, contribution of some ancient Indian physicists, allied sciences and technology that looks into advances ancient Indians made in architecture, civil engineering, metallurgy, chemistry and the evolution of measurements..

The faculty is also keen to help students understand the entire political, social, economic and philosophical/spiritual context in which these inventions took place and, most importantly, we are trying to help situate all this in the global scenario of that time. The course is being offered for both the spring (January to June) and autumn (July to December) semesters as a regular three-credit elective course.