Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray joined Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur as its Vice Chancellor on March 1, 2009, and continued with the second term in the same position from Sept 1,2013. With the transformation of Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur to Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur on March 4, 2014 , he is now the Director of the Institute. He is on lien from lIT Kharagpur, where he is a Professor of Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering. Prior to joining Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur as its Vice Chancellor he was the Head, School of Medical Science and Technology at lIT Kharagpur. Prof. Ray had his Bachelor's degree from Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur, followed by M.Tech and Ph.D from Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering Department of lIT Kharagpur. He joined lIT Kharagpur as a Faculty in 1980.
Prof. Ray has successfully completed twenty two research projects and several consultancy projects, sponsored by several national and international agencies. As the Principal Investigator of research projects, sponsored by Intel Corporation during 1997 - 2004, he is the co inventor of six US patents jointly with Intel Corporation, and as the Chief Investigator of a Texas Instruments sponsored research project at the School of Medical Science and Technology at lIT Kharagpur. He, along with other team members has filed more than ten USA patents jointly with Texas Instruments. Prof. Ray was associated with the University of Southampton as Senior Research Fellow during 1989-90, and led the research group on 'Image and Video Processing' of Avisere Inc., USA during 2004-2005.
He has co-authored more than 140 research papers in International journals and Conferences and has authored five books published by International Publishing Houses, such as John Wiley, Tata McGraw Hill, 213 Prentice Hall of India and Taylor and Francies Publication, including one in Chinese.
In addition, under his leadership, his group in the School of Medical Science and Technology has initiated a number of research projects on 'Molecular Imaging' and Image Processing, Medical Instrumentation, Early detection of oral, breast and cervical cancer, Coronary Artery disease detection, Epidemiological Studies and Bio Informatics, all of which are of national importance. Prof. Ray is the Fellow and Member of many professional bodies and is involved with a large number of Universities in their academic bodies. He has been serving as member of many national committees on Engineering Education. He has been associated with Nehru Museum of Science and Technology, lIT Kharagpur as Secretary and Chairman from 1991 - 2006.
I am indeed happy that the National Academy of Science, India has decided to sponsor the publication by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture of ‘Introduction to History of Science in India’ –a multivolume series commenmorating the centenary of Indian Science Congress Association and sesquicentennial Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda—one of the principal initiators of Institutional Science in India. This series , of which the present one is and introduction, I understand, would start with our science heritage followed by its growth in successive phases culminating in the present challenges, written in a language meant for the common readers.
I sincerely hope that this commendable venture would indeed generate interest and awareness of all concerned towards the basic objectives of Science—the search for eternal truth, enrichment of knowledge and alleviation of misery of the humanity as a whole.
The present volume provides with a glimpse of a few of our revered scientists who laid the foundation of modern science and explored new horizons in the field. I wish the venture a grand success.
The caravan of human progress moves forward from age to age in each country, braving all kinds of obstacles to ensure the welfare of mankind. It is the indomitable spirit of some great personalities at different ages in different parts of our globe, that has helped humanity to overcome the grave challenges it has faced in its journey towards eternity. In the following pages I have attempted to tell the story - a saga of great innovative contributions of great minds from different parts of India in different time frames.
Indians excelled in town planning, civil Engineering and basic manufacturing technology during the Pre Vedic era. Indian minds contributed immensely to basic science, geometry, astronomy, medicine during the Vedic period. As a matter of fact the contributions of Aryabhatta, Susruta, Varahamihira, Bhaskara and many others had immense effects on our understanding of nature, both physical, chemical and biological. Due to urbanisation during the second phase of our history, engineering and architecture flourished to a considerable extent during the post Vedic period till about 1100 CE.
There was a period after the twelfth century when scientific and technological achievements reduced substantially due to various factors. However, the new ideas were still pouring in areas, such as astronomy, which may be seen from the observatories at Jaipur and Delhi. Also in civil engineering and Architecture, the tradition continued, and resulted in beautiful architectural wonders, such as Taj Mahal during the Mughal period.
Modern Science started taking its root in India in the 18th century after the arrival of the British East India Company. The establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal by Sir William J ones in 1784 was an outcome of the interest created at that time in scientific research. The Society has since then played a prominent role in the development of scientific activities in India.
The setting up of Indian Association for Cultivation of Science by Dr Mahendralal Sarkar and others was a landmark event in the initiation of modem scientific activities in India. The early initiatives of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose and Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy during late nineteenth century created two very successful Schools by the third decade of twentieth century - School of Physical Sciences and School of Chemical Sciences in India.
This paved the way for Indians to enter the world of modem science and engineering. It is extremely difficult to decouple Technology from Science, and today in twenty first century they are almost inseparable in many ways.
The stories of the great innings played by a large number of brilliant minds from Pre- Vedic days till today are truly exciting. The pages to follow contain glimpses of that panorama.
I will be happy if this saga can inspire some of our students and young minds to excel in our journey during the decades to come.
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