Jayant Narlikar, astrophysicist has written in ‘Truth Imitates Fiction’ how the good fiction writers predicts the things to come in future:
“Fred Hoyle, well known for daring ideas in astrophysics, once proposed that the space between stars is not empty but contains vast clouds of chemical molecules. His research papers on this topic, sent to reputed scientific journals, were rejected. In the 1950s, most astronomers believed that the interstellar space contains hydrogen atoms only.
They could not reconcile their beliefs to the idea that molecular structures can survive in space. Hoyle, faced with a blackout of his ideas, wrote a science fiction novel called The Black Cloud, in which he proposed the concept of vast clouds of molecules occupying interstellar spaces. The novel was immensely successful. Through the 1950s, however, technology had advanced to a level where astronomers could probe the interstellar space with millimetre wavelength radiation received by suitably designed dish antennas.
Analysis of the radiation revealed that it had been emitted by specific molecules in the interstellar clouds, precisely as Hoyle had anticipated in The Black Cloud. Today, the existence of giant molecular clouds is taken for granted. This was a case of sci-fi anticipating real science.
There are other instances of science fiction anticipating real situations, if not contemporarily, at a later stage. Jules Verne’s novel, From Earth to the Moon, anticipated by a century, the reality of Apollo 11 Mission of 1969. Writings of H G Wells, and later by Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury contain perceptive references to situations that developed later.
In a futuristic essay written in 1945, Clarke looked at the possibility of geostationary satellites playing a role in communications technology. This became a reality some three decades later, when man created rockets that could launch satellites in such orbits.”
And it’s heartening when I found Sashi Taroor writing in his lead article ‘Looking to the future with Brand IIT’ about the contribution of Vedas in the scientific endeavour of our ancestors. “After all, the roots of Indian science and technology go far deeper than Nehru. The Rig Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together 24 centuries before the apple fell on Newton’s head. The Vedic civilisation subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth at a time when everyone else, even the Greeks, assumed the earth was flat.”
Should we not consider our ancient sages who wrote about the ‘Puspak Viman’ and sophisticated weaponry in ‘Maha Bharat’ in the same manner and give credit to their foresights? Why are our leftists intellectuals shy of talking with due respect to those great ancestors as if they only belonged to the families of a particular political party?
Indians must take pride to prove the supremacy in knowledge sector and must never get into trap to be complacent.