Dr B Bansal’s The Birth and Evolution of Science courageously takes a direct aim at the conventional view of the history of science: the presumption of Ancient Greece as
birth place of science, undermining the critical role played by Indian and Chinese civilizations, confining the role of Muslim civilization to merely keeping science alive for a
convenient hand off to Europe when it woke up from its millennium-long slumber.
It proposes a fixed yet flexible inner nature of the species and a stable yet dynamic inner nature of social orders. Using these
foundations, it employs the institutional model to expertly narrate the intertwined story of civilizations and science through the
standalone, peaceful and the violent interaction eras over last 8,500 years. It challenges not only the conventional history of science but
also the comparative history of civilizations, since this book considers science as the highest form of Homo sapiens' creativity. It answers
the following key questions concerning the birth and evolution of science:
Using an analytical, quantitative and testable approach, the book answers these questions and more (such as how Aurangzeb impacted American and Industrial Revolutions,
who invented calculus and whether art is a prerequisite to science). It thus uses scientific method itself to study the forces that have determined the history of science. It
highlights why and when science was supported, why it was suppressed, why it was adopted and why it was promoted in history. Dr Bansal does not simply examine the
intellectual history of civilizations as most books on the subject do; he outlines the reciprocal impact of the productive, creative, constructive and destructive outcomes of key
civilizations and nomads in rationalizing the evolution of science through seven distinct, historically observable phases.
Dr Bansal received his undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and subsequently earned first his PhD from Clarkson University, and then an
MBA from Syracuse University.
Always interested in history, Dr Bansal developed a passion for understanding the evolution of science in different civilizations. His researches led him to believe that the
history of science, as taught today, needs a significant revision as it understandably reflects the perspective of a single civilization, one nonetheless responsible for the final
maturation of science over the last several centuries. The book, which took seven years to complete, is a reflection of his passion for the subject.
Why is Indian civilization Responsible for Birth of Science?
Why Indian Civilization contributed little to Science in the last Five Centuries?
Why Did Leadership in Science Pass from one Civilization to Another?
What Role did Fair Exchange, Greed and Creed play in Birth and Evolution of Science?
Tell us how this book came about?
I believe history of science as taught in schools throughout the world and
discussed in the popular media is one-sided. I wanted to do something
about it after I retired.
Given the breadth of the sciences, what were you trying to capture
in The Birth and Evolution of Science?
What I tried to capture is how the peaceful and violent interactions
among civilizations and between civilizations and nomads over past 5000
years has impacted the evolution of science through greed and creed.
It is a big book. How is it structured?
It has two main parts: In part I, I develop the framework with several
elements. First, civilizations have experienced distinct standalone,
peaceful and violent interaction eras since birth of civilization about 8500
years ago. Second, like people civilizations have personality which is both
stable and dynamic. Third, about ten civilizations and nomadic groups are
sufficient to tell science’s story. Fourth, human creativity comes in three
flavors: practical, religious and intellectual and these affect one
another and science. In Part II, I apply these concepts to tell the
story of science in seven stages: proto-science, birth, four syntheses
phases and mature stage.
Could you tell us something about yourself: your childhood and the
interests that led you to engineering and research?
I come from a business oriented family and happen to excel in math and
science so I graduated from IIT, New Delhi in chemical engineering. I was
deeply affected by the founder of my high school.
You claim Indian civilization gave birth to science between 1000 -500 BCE. That is not what
most scholars believe in.
That is correct, including most Indian scholars. Part of the answer lies in how science is
defined. If by birth of science we mean definitive laws about solar astronomy, then birth of
science occurred only 500 years ago in Europe. If by science we mean a belief in observation
and reason as source of knowledge and its first application to formal, natural or social sciences,
then we may claim birth of science in India.
Who were the Indian scientists responsible for birth?
In mathematics, it was Baudhyana, Manva and Apastamba; in astronomy, it was Yajnavalkaya
and Atreya, in grammar, the incomparable Panini, in Medicine, it was Charaka and sushruta, in
evolution it was Kapila and in physics and chemistry it was Kanada. Unfortunately they are not
household names today. But ought to be.
What about the Greeks?
I am glad you asked that. First, the Greek contributions before 500 BCE were mostly in
Philosophy with un-acknowledged debt to Indian thinkers even in that field. Second, Greeks got
into astronomy only after they learned it from Mesopotamians through Alexander. Plato was
interested in astronomy because he wanted to prove his theory of pre-
existing forms. Some scholars believe Mesopotamian astronomy in
turn was influenced by Indian astronomy.
You have outlined ancient Indian History that is different from
Yes it is different from the accepted version promoted by Western
historians in the face of research and facts to the contrary. I have
simply summarize it.
Give us the short version.
Well, Current research shows that Aryans probably migrated into
India 8-10,000 years ago after the warming trend created the great river
systems in north India. India civilization has gone through Mehrgarh
(6500-3000 BCE), Vedic (5000-4000 BCE) when Rig Veda was composed,
the Indus (4000-2200 BCE) when Mahabharata took place and the
Ganges periods (2200 BCE-present).
Can you briefly sketch history of Indian science?
Sure. After birth, during the first synthesis (500 BCE-200 CE), Indian
scientists laid early foundations of probability and set theories, practical
chemistry and political science. During second synthesis (200-750 CE),
Indian scientists invented trigonometry, concept of infinitesimal, decimal
system, algebra, established heliocentric astronomy, speculated on laws of
motion, propagation of light, sound and gravity. During the third synthesis
(750-1200CE), they put forth the concept of coordinate geometry and speculative theories
of heat. During fourth synthesis (1200-1600 CE) they invented differential calculus.
Indian civilization was dominant in science for over two thousand years until about 16th
century. However, the central Asian nomads who successfully invaded India beginning 12th
century converted to Islam after Islam had turned away from science in the 11th century. The
new rulers actively discouraged science and Indian science essentially died after the 15th
century. Scientific renaissance took place in India in the latter part of the 19th century and early
20th century under the impact of European science in a colonial setting. In the last half century
Indian scientific talent migrated to the West in significant numbers. The future of science in India
is closely tied to its economic development.
What are the key points that you would like the non-specialist reader to gather from The
Birth and Evolution of Science?
Only three: Victors write history to their advantage, Indian history has been distorted by
Europeans and Indian civilization not only gave birth to science but also contributed greatly to
its development until 16th century.
Where can you buy the book?
The book is available at amazon.com and may be reviewed at baeos.com. Please spread the
word to your friends!
Author may be contacted at email@example.com