This list of Indian inventions and discoveries details the inventions, scientific discoveries and contributions of ancient and modern India, including both the ancient and medieval nations in the subcontinent historically referred to as India and the modern Indian state. It draws from the whole cultural and technological history of India, during which architecture, astronomy, cartography, metallurgy, logic, mathematics, metrology and mineralogy were among the branches of study pursued by its scholars. During recent times science and technology in the Republic of India has also focused on automobile engineering, information technology, communications as well as research into space and polar technology.
For the purposes of this list, inventions are regarded as technological firsts developed in India, and as such does not include foreign technologies which India acquired through contact. It also does not include technologies or discoveries developed elsewhere and later invented separately in India, nor inventions by Indian emigres in other places. Changes in minor concepts of design or style and artistic innovations do not appear on in the lists.
"It is India that gave us the ingenuous method of expressing all numbers by the means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit, but its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest minds produced by antiquity."
A total of 558 weights were excavated from Mohenjodaro, Harappa, and Chanhu-daro, not including defective weights. They did not find statistically significant differences between weights that were excavated from five different layers, each measuring about 1.5 m in depth. This was evidence that strong control existed for at least a 500-year period. The 13.7-g weight seems to be one of the units used in the Indus valley. The notation was based on the binary and decimal systems. 83% of the weights which were excavated from the above three cities were cubic, and 68% were made of chert.
The first improvement in spinning technology was the spinning wheel, which was invented in India between 500 and 1000 A.D.
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"Geometry, and its branch trigonometry, was the mathematics Indian astronomers used most frequently. In fact, the Indian astronomers in the third or fourth century, using a pre-Ptolemaic Greek table of chords, produced tables of sines and versines, from which it was trivial to derive cosines. This new system of trigonometry, produced in India, was transmitted to the Arabs in the late eighth century and by them, in an expanded form, to the Latin West and the Byzantine East in the twelfth century."
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