What was the feeling of the first man/woman who invented the wheel? Along with fire, it is the most important invention of the human endeavour.
Was he the only one who thought that circular log of wood can ease the movement? Was there no one far away in other civilization who could have thought of that? Did no one ever think why apple fall, before Newton?
The same Apple which was forbidden for Adam and Eve, it fell upon Newton, and Newton gave the law of gravitation, not a theory, but a law, because according to him it was divine and it must be universal.
Things happen, we all notice, but some rare people get to stick to one particular event and unfold completely new thought, philosophy, science and technology which may have existed always but no one had make sense of them till now.
There are many such instances that revolutionised the world. We will discuss here 5 of those revolutionary moments in scientific history.
Well, it was not a discovery in usual sense. People started noticing the pattern in the nature. Greeks thought the mathematical laws are the basis on which Gods had constructed the universe. They thought geometry was inherent in nature. Plato described that God is a geometer.
Circle was the most perfect shape thus the sky was attributed circular shape as it was closer to god. So planets must be circular, they must be moving on circular orbit. This was the first predictions of human for the heavenly bodies and they were right.
In India too, vedic altar were built signifying various geometrical patterns such as circle for sky, square for earth denoting 4 directions.
Since it is believed that God has made everything perfect, perfection was searched in every object and phenomenon, and thus the golden ratio was discovered that is found among the most beautifully structured face, buildings, petals of flowers, and even galaxies.
Pythagoras theorem was the invention among these while searching the inherent geometry in the world. Same thing was postulated in India’s Shulba Sutra. Although the methods were different but this searching of the absoluteness in everything led to discovery of geometry.
Dalton gave the atomic theory of elements in 19th century but the foundation of atomism was laid long before around 5th-6th centuries. Like almost everything, the source of knowledge trace back to Greece and India.
Greeks were arguing on the two schools of thought for understanding the nature of reality. On one hand we have a transcendent unified reality encompassing everything and on other hand, a singled out cosmic God creating the world in its essence.
Between God in everything and God outside, a compromise was accepted that there is the essence of God in some particular fixed quantity. That fixed quantity accumulates to form the material world. This fixed smallest unit was named atomos by Democritus.
This led to the foundation of atomic principle. Around the same time, sage Kanad in India gave the Vaisheshika Theory of philosophy which states that everything is made of smallest particular unit called “anu” or “parmanu” meaning particles and entire world is the interplay of these smallest particles.
Again there was subtle difference between the approaches of two sages living thousands of kilometers away around the same time but this philosophy took us back to quantum nature of reality.
We talked earlier, the event of the apple falling on Newton’s head in the Garden of Trinity College. Black plague was then wreaking havoc in Europe just like the Covid times and Newton didn’t left his home for a year.
There are many versions about Newton’s seclusion but we must be focused on the theoretical physics. The universal law of gravitation was based on Johannes Kepler’s previously given inverse square law, and based on the Kepler’s 3 postulate about the planetary motion around the sun, he gave the theory of gravitation.
Now his law was not only applied for planets and heavenly bodies, but for every single object in the universe. With this single discovery, entire cosmos became one. Entire universe governed by one single cosmic law.
Newton formulated the gravitational formula and it is one of the simplest yet most revolutionary formulas of physics. It is the epitome of classical mechanics.
Human in the past searched for the oneness among the different phenomenon of the world. The differences between certain object were treated as different manifestation of one reality and this different aspect was named differently.
But later during the dark ages and the rise of classical mechanics, things became discrete. The world was understood as an organic mega machine and each part is different in contributing its function for the successful running of the machine.
But it was JC Maxwell who turn the tables. Electric and magnetic field was studied vastly by Michael Faraday and the thousands of experiment revealed that both the field interacts with each other and production of one field is responsible for the production of the other.
Maxwell combined the laws of Faraday, Ampere and Gauss to give Maxwell equations. Electric and magnetic field was one but different aspect of same unified force i.e. Electro-magnetic force. This simple unification laid path for the unification later of three fundamental forces into one standard model of physics.
Relativity is the feather in the cap of modern physics. Relativity not only destroyed the classical mechanics but combined the two entities, space and time, that were considered different until then. Reality was not something to be perceived similarly to everyone.
Reality is indeed one but different observer according to their motion and position see the measurement of space and time completely different.
This theory of Einstein brought back the history of ancients that difference in the reality was different aspects of it as perceived by different observers. The relative nature of reality was further accepted and refined with the coming of quantum mechanics.
And thus, the main aim of all the physics community became to combine these two pillars to define everything in the universe with a single theory, that would be called as The Theory of Everything.