Shipping Note: This item usually arrives at your doorstep in 10-15 days
Author: S C Pakrashi
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): A K Sharma/M G K Menon/M S Valiathan
Publisher: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789381325438
FROM THE BOOK PREFACE:
History of Chemical Sciences in India is the third in the series of the `History of Sciences in India' in eight volumes published by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata. While taking up the responsibility, we hardly realized the enormity and complexity of the job. Because, Chemistry, the mother of all material and life sciences, may be said to be as old as civilization itself.
As a matter of fact, though not by the name, the practice of chemistry in India dates back virtually to the Pre-Harappan period (4000 BCE), and since then it had a long history of development and prosperity till 1300 CE. Thereafter, it gradually declined and as such suffered a serious setback. It was not until the 19th century that it began to revive during the so-called renaissance period. Though the progress was slow until the mid-20th century, chemical sciences in India after independence flourished as it did never before, achieving the global standard. Therefore, it was a daunting task to confine the long and chequered history of chemistry in India within its scope and limitation, particularly when this treatise is intended for beginners or those interested in science.
Fortunately, our task of compiling the glorious ancient and medieval history of chemistry has been made easier by the monumental and painstaking work of Acharya P. C. Ray's “History of Hindu Chemistry", revised by his worthy successor, Prof. P Ray, from which we freely borrowed often verbatim, and reproduced the rare and valuable illustrations. As a matter of fact, we also virtually followed the same pattern of our presentation.
As for the Pre- and Post Renaissance developments, particularly the Chemical Research, besides other resources including Wikipedia, we heavily relied on and freely drew from the relevant publications of Indian National Science Academy. It was not easy to select the chemists from among a large number of deserving ones. Nevertheless, quite reluctantly, we had to restrict to those, whose contributions have been recognized by INSA, the Apex scientific body in the country. On the other hand, attempts have been made to highlight the achievements in all the major areas. For the Contemporary Chemistry, in these days of specialization, we invited the experts in the relevant fields.
The book covers the three main periods, namely, (i) History-legacy of Chemistry from Prehistoric India (4000 BCE) to the astrochemical period (1300 CE -1550 CE) and decline (ii) Pre-and Post Renaissance phase— mid-19th-20th Century CE, (iii) Developments of Modern and Contemporary Chemistry in India. They are spread over 10 Chapters including the one devoted to "Evolution of Chemistry of Natural Products of plant origin" and allied "Application of Modern Physical Methods in Structure Elucidation of Organic Molecules". The last chapter summarizes the important role played by the research Institutions in the Growth of Chemical sciences in India.
Besides, we could not resist the temptation of incorporating as Appendix I the facsimiles of the 'Opinions on Vol. I' (supplemented as far as practicable) and the Preface of the second edition of Vol. II of the rare copy of 'History of Hindu Chemistry', revised by Acharya P. C. Ray himself. Appendix II records a list of SS Bhatnagar Awardees in Chemistry with their citations from its inception up to date.
After the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 —1800 BCE), the Aryans settled in India and with their advanced knowledge of the art of chemistry enriched the valley during the Vedic age (1500- - 600 BCE), so-called because of composition of all the four Vedas during this period.
It is remarkable that the technique of producing curd, and the fermented liquors such as Soma, also known as Amrita (from the stem-juice of Soma plant), believed to ensure longevity, and Sura, a kind of beer (from barley grain), the oldest products of Biotechnology was known even as far back as the Rigveda era .
The highlights of the Physico-chemical theories of the Vedantic period emphatically testify the foresight and depth of knowledge of the ancient Hindu philosophers that had significantly contributed to the growth of scientific concepts and methodologies. Thus, Kapil’s concept of earth, water and air is akin to all the states of matter, i.e. solid, liquid and gas as we know it today. His perception of Paramanu as the smallest homogeneous indivisible element of any matter based on the theory of cosmogenesis of the Samkhya-Patanjali system is amazingly the same as the atom of modern chemistry. So also his idea of molecules and compounds from atoms.
Furthermore, his conception of different weight of an object depending on the density of the medium is the same as that of the Archimedes' principle established long after Kapil. The Nyaya-Vaiseshika Chemical theory, Molecular and Atomic motion (Parispanda) were all propounded during the Vedantic period. Weight of Air was determined, Weights and measures and Chemistry in the Medial schools were also introduced in this era.
Man’s quest for understanding the riddles of the universe and matter began lmost with the dawn of civilization. Changes in composition of matters by the influence of external forces and creation of new entities by mixing two or more substances laid the foundation of the application of 'chemistry' in the development of human civilization.
The word chemistry is said to have roots in either ancient Egypt or Greece. Science historian Howard Markel discusses the word's origin, and the modern naming of the field of chemistry by Robert Boyle, the British natural philosopher and alchemist, in his 1661 treatise, The Skeptical Chymist.
Some historians claim an Egyptian origin based upon the Decree of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian (c. 300, CE). This decree ordered the burning of all Egyptian writings outlining the transmutation of gold and silver. Based on this edict as well as a series of hieroglyphic inscriptions, scholars as far back as Plutarch (46-120, CE) insisted that the root word, Chem, was derived from the name of ancient Egypt, the land of Khem, which means rich, black soil—the type that prospered near the banks of the Nile and was prized for its fertility, as opposed to the sands of the surrounding desert.
The "Science of Chem"—as Egyptian mythology suggests—was a heavenly gift to humankind from Osiris, the Egyptian god of light and wisdom, and his wife Isis, the goddess of magic, motherhood, and fertility.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, on the other hand, the word is more likely to be a child of the Greek, `chemia'—for pouring or infusion. The ancient Greeks applied this term to what came to be known as pharmaceutical chemistry. Physicians of this era would extract the juices or infusions of plants for medicinal purposes.
2. HISTORY-LEGACY OF CHEMISTRY
Prehistoric India (4000 BCE - 1500 BCE)
Pre-Harappan period (4000 - 2500 BCE)
Indus valley civilization (2500 — 2000 BCE)
Post-Harappan perid (2000 -1500 BCE)
3. (A) Vedic period (1500 - Pre-Buddhist period 600 BCE)
(B) Post-Vedic period: Ayurvedic period (-600 BCE - 800 CE)
Physico-chemical theories of the Ancient Philosophers
Constitution and properties of matter
Development of Atomic theory
Genesis of an atom (Bhuta Paramanu): Atomic Theory
Molecules and Compounds
The Atomic Theory of the Jains
Chemistry in the Medical Schools of Ancient India
Ayurvedic Period: Chemistry in the Arthasashtra of Kautilya
History of Metallurgy in India
Chemistry during Charaka and the Susruta
Chemistry in Bower manuscript
Chemistry in Vagbhata
Chemistry' in Practical arts
Glass and Pottery (from 5th Century BCE)
Coins and Terracotta at Kopia (3rd Century BCE and 3rd Century CE) Metallurgy and metallic objects
Copper, Bronze, Brass and Lead, (51h Century BCE-6th century CE)
Objects of Copper Alloys
Objects of Iron (from 4th to Is' Century BCE)
Silver and gold ornaments (3rd Century BCE— 3rd Century CE)
Flourishing Metal Industries (Is' Century BCE)
Dyes and Paints (41h to 1st Century BCE)
Cosmetics and Perfumes
4. Transitional & Tantric periods (800 CE-1300 CE)
(a) Transitional period: Vrinda & Chakrapani
(b) Tantric period:
Development of Chemistry during Tantric period
(I) Transformation of Base Metals
(II) Classification of Minerals, Metals, Salts and Alkalis
(III) Extraction and Purification of Important Minerals
(IV) Killing of Metals
5. Iatrochemical period (1300 CE -1550 E)
Chemistry in Rasaratnasamuchchaya
The Uparasa or Inferior Rasas
General Process of Reducing Gems to Ashes for Medicinal Use
A Typical Laboratory Set Up
6. (A) Chemistry in Practical Arts in Medieval Period
Metallurgy and Working in Metals
Use of Gun and Gun-Powder
Preparation/ Manufacture of Explosive Powder and Fireworks
Tinning and Alloying
Purification of Alloyed Silver
Mineral Acids, Alums Etc
Paper, Ink and Soap
Cosmetics and Perfumery Etc.?
(B) Decline of Scientific Spirit in India
7. (A) Evolution of Chemistry of Natural Products of Plant Origin
(B) Application of Modern Physical Methods in Structure Elucidation of Organic Molecules
(i) Ultraviolet-Visible Spectroscopy
(ii) Infrared Spectroscopy
(iii) Mass Spectrometry
(iv) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
8. Pre- and Post Renaissance Phase-19th and 20th Century
Early History of Chemical research in India
(i) Chemical Discoveries
(ii) Establishment of Indian Chemical Society
(iii) Establishment of Bengal Chemical & Pharmaceutical Works
(iv) History of Hindu Chemistry
(v) Creation of a School of Young Chemists
(vi) Researches in Inorganic Chemistry in India: Highlights of Contributions of some Selected Scientists
(vii) Researches in Organic Chemistry in India: Highlights of Contributions of some Selected Scientists
(viii) Researches in Physical Chemistry in India: Highlights of Contributions of some Selected Scientists
(ix) Experimental Physical Chemistry: Highlights of Contributions of some Selected Scientists
9. Development of Contemporary Chemistry in India
(a) Polymer Chemistry
(b) Carbohydrate Chemistry
(d) Solid State and Materials Chemistry
(e) Carbon Nan materials
(f) Theoretical Chemistry