Science in the ancient world:
We have explained why we should study the history of science and what we mean by the history of science. We have seen what science is like in today's world. Science, today, is a social institution. It has its own method and practices. The tradition of scientific knowledge has certain distinct characteristics. We have also tried to'understand the interaction of science and society at a conceptual level. Let us now see how science has developed through the ages and reached its present stage.
We rill have to begin by looking into the origins of science. This task is easier said than done, because, as we go farther back in time, it becomes harder to find what actually happened. The sources that tell us the story of science in those times are hidden in the history of human arts and institutions. They have to be searched for. It is from the life, trades and customs of our ancestors that our science has grown. Therefore, science of the old times has to be gathered from the social and cultural life of those times. Historians have studied the life, social structure, customs, artefacts and culture of the ancient world. They have found material evidence and written records of the past to reconstruct the life of those times. From this wealth of information based on concrete evidence, we have tried to put together the story of the origins of science, and its growth in early human societies. Even as you read this 'story', remember that it is not fiction. Every feature
narrated to you is based on concrete evidence. And this story may change if new facts emerge.
We will study about the features of the primitive human society that led to the birth of science later on. We will see how the transition from the primitive society to an agriculture-based society resulted in the birth of science and its development. The primitive people used stone implements. Therefore, that period is called the "Stone Age". With agriculture started another period in human history, which we call the "Bronze Age". We will also discuss the happenings in the Indian subcontinent in those times.