History: Five millennia of Indian science

James Poskett applauds a show celebrating discovery on the subcontinent, from zero to the boson. If reason can be embodied, it stares us in the face at the entrance to the Illuminating India exhibition at London’s Science Museum. A 1,000-year-old statue of the Buddha sits in the ‘earth witness’ pose (cross-legged, right hand touching the ground), symbolizing truth and rationality. A commitment to these concepts is woven through India’s 5,000-year story of science, spanning religions and philosophies from Hinduism to Sikhism, and taking in mathematics, medieval astronomy, modern physics, the computer revolution and space exploration.

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