Science as a human endeavour:
Science is a human endeavour. Human beings, from prehistoric times, attempted to control nature for their own welfare. For this, they had to observe and understand nature. Out of such an understanding, they found the means to make nature yield goods according to their needs. While this understanding led to useful applications, it also opened up further questions and avenues of enquiry, enriching the stock of knowledge. And this. in turn, led to improved techniques for satisfying their needs. This process of understanding nature and using that understanding to control nature, is what may be called "science". The process is certainly not without ups and downs. The story of the ups and downs in science, as it grew in society, is very interesting. As we have said earlier, in this block we shall relate this story. But surely, by now, you may be wondering why you should know the history of science. And, for that matter, you may ask, what do we mean by the 'history' of science? Will it mean memorising a lot of dates, names and places? Well, in the first unit we'll provide you with the answers to these questions. We will also discuss, in brief, some aspects of science in the present-day society.
The roots of science, as we know it today, lie in the life of primitive human beings. Therefore, in the next unit, we shall start the story of science right from the beginning, that is, from the dawn of human society. We shall see how the transition from a primitive society
to an agricultural society had led to the birth of science and how it grew in the ancient world.