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Lecture 1



“The process of consciously changing nature and the universe has been characterized by perpetual conflict. The dominant consensuses have continually been challenged, modified and violently overthrown. Thus innovations loaded with historical potential tend to be at first ridiculed, or persecuted and suppressed, only to become in due time, the new ruling dogma. The struggle between old and new has rarely been dignified. The innovators come in many colors, of which the green of jealousy and purple of rage are fashionable shades. The essence of human becoming has been sharp conflict and gradual progress.” (Adaptation of a quote from “The Ascent of Science”, by B. Silver) 2. The importance of the contradiction <CP> (See the list of my abbrvtns. 3. The central <CP> relevant for us is the unity and struggle between:(A) Indian Culture of civilizational scale (our Community AMBIENCE) (B) Euro-centric Modern Science, 400 years old (our Professional/Institutional AMBIENCE) The latter overshadows the former. 4. Our focus in these lectures is on the history of the latter movement and its impact on the Indian civilization.

(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) etc. Upto 1930s the Orthodox History of Science was the ruling dogma. of Science was born as an academic discipline. Another part of the dogma was the concept of “True Science” as . And during this time it has evolved:from to 6. Relationship between the Scientific Community and the Public. Hist. For it. Government’s Science Policy 8. Orthodox History of Science Social History of Science Orthodox History of Science Anecdotal Chronologies as time lines Biographies of Great Scientists Histories of particular Disciplines of science Social History of Science looks at Constitution & Development of the Community of Science practioners Its hierarchical partitioning into Disciplines Its Institutions for professional exchange. networking. books were written by individuals. (i) (ii) (iii) etc.5. and regulation. the objective being (i) (ii) To motivate younger entrants. 7. Gain support of the Public and 9. only about 100 years back.

partly intuitive concepts. and regulated by social struggles and institutions. . History of Science was viewed as S Scientist C. however……they combine definitions. A A D B Y C formula in the year made the discovery B 11. There application for the benefit of the society 10.” KLEPPNER AND KOLENKOW (ii) The communist movement of USSR and other European countries which claimed that scientific work is just another form of labor. determined by social needs. This was seriously questioned in the 20th century from two sources:(i) Relativity and QM cast doubts on the claims of Newtonian orthodoxy that “Newton’s laws do not involve any hypotheses”. and some unexamined assumptions on the properties of space and time. The new skepticism is well expressed as follows:“Newton’s laws are simple to state and involve little mathematical complexity.(i) (ii) True laws of science discovered by scientists as “disinterested seekers of truth”. Their simplicity is deceptive. observations from nature.

The 8 references 1. instruments. who possess the criteria to distinguish between valid and invalid scientific work. and controls the rewards and punishments machinery (ii) (iii) (iv) <CP>s of culture and philosophy in the social ambience around. I call the above point of view Hessen – Zilsel – Rose thesis. laboratory procedures and data collection methods existing at the time. This has led to division of historians and critiques of science in two camps. The state of technology. (i) The internalists who still hold the old opinion that scientific work is determined by the scientific community alone. which shape the imagination.12. The socialist historians/sociologists of science hold the view that scientific practice is determined by the following 4 factors:(i) Theoretical and experimental expert practice of a hierarchical community of scientific professionals. primarily worked by nonelite technicians and support staff. metaphor and analogies of the scientific community. Politico-economic social order which selectively funds research and education. 14. whose work is determined by objective nature and scientific epistemology. Socialists and social historians of science (ii) 13. Building Scientific Institutions in India: Saha & Bhabha .

Olby. S. Publ. N. Montreal (1975) 2. Anderson Occasional Paper Series #11. and “Low Mechanicks” by Clifford D. Christie. R. R. and Health by R. 8. A People’s History of Science: Miners. Kochhar Indian J. Freudenthal D. J. Conner. (2005) 4. Hodge Routledge (1990) The Ascent of Science by Brian L. Levins Monthly Review Press. Phys. Reidel Publishing Company (1986) Cultivation of Science in 19th Century Bengal by R. Cantor. S. Midwives. Press (1998). and M. Silver. 5. New York (2007) 7. Lewontin & R. Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery By Isaac Asimov Publ. Mc-Gill University. Grafton Books (1990) 3. 6. R. G. Agriculture. . 82 (8) 1005 – 1082 (2008) Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology. C. Nation Books. Centre for Developing Area Studies. Atom and Individual in the Age of Newton: On the Genesis of the Mechanistic World View by G. Companion to the History of Modern Science Ed. J. Publ. Oxford Univ.

. Search for a new synthesis.15. To this end a critical study of:(i) History of science (ii) Philosophy of science (iii) Frontiers of Science research (iv) Sociology & psychology of science (v) Politics of science etc.