‘Tracing the dawn’: IUCAA professors pen book on early history of all sciences

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: February 15, 2020 5:19:38 am

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Book cover of The Dawn of Science: Glimpses from History for the Curious Mind

In a book that traces the early history of all sciences, two scientists from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) have tried to impress upon readers that ancient fables cannot be taken seriously in determining the early development of science.

Prof Thanu Padmanabhan and Prof Vasanthi Padmanabhan have launched a new book — The Dawn of Science: Glimpses from History for the Curious Mind — which takes readers back to a period of antiquity ending roughly at the time of Isaac Newton. The book covers the period that can legitimately be called the “dawn” of the sciences, a statement issued by the IUCAA read.

According to Prof Thanu Padmanabhan, each of the 24 chapters focused on a particular and significant development in the evolution of science, and was connected in a coherent way to the others to yield a continuous narrative.

The professor added that the at-a-glance diagrams showing the ‘when’ and ‘where’ gave a brief summary of what was happening at the time, providing broader context to scientific events highlighted in that chapter.

The book is dotted with colourful photographs and illustrations, along with “boxed” highlights scattered throughout the text, and it talks about the history of science, and how it shaped our world, Prof Padmanabhan said.

According to Prof Arvind Paranjpye, Director, Nehru Planetarium, right in the beginning, the authors made an honest statement that “it is never easy to distinguish true science from mythology, magic, and mysticism”, adding that churning out real science from the mumbo-jumbo was a mammoth task.

He added that the basic fact and importance about an invention or discovery, which the authors considered to be a milestone in the history of science, was mentioned and discussed in brief. Rather than settling for an emotional description, the authors then moved on to the next topic, said Paranjpye.

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