|The Roots of Knowledge
From the time of Socrates till now, philosophers have tried to define knowledge: what is knowledge, what is knowable and what
is not knowable. They wanted to find the connection between knowledge and truth, belief, perception, opinion, etc. Each
disagreed with the definition of the others and created his own with which all the others disagreed. Empiricists say that we
know through experience and rationalists say that we learn by deduction.
Webster defines knowledge as knowing something with a considerable degree of familiarity gained through experience.
Therefore, knowledge is familiarity with, and experience of, a fact. A fact is truth and therefore, knowledge is awareness of
Knowledge comes from a complex web of sources. We learn directly from our own experiences and observations and
indirectly from the experiences and observations of others. Our five senses link us to the physical world while our brain and
mind interpret the information gleaned by this fragile quintet. Our senses can deceive us. Some people are colour blind, some
have limited hearing, our thresholds for pain and sensation differ, our abilities to taste differ. Other animals perceive the world in
ways barred to us by the limitations of our senses. The ultra-violet-detecting eyes of honeybees can perceive patterns on flowers
invisible to our limited perception of the light spectrum. Dogs have a better sense of smell, pigeons have a magnetic sense of
direction, bats can detect sounds beyond the range of our ears. Therefore, what we know of the world is severely restricted by
the sense filters through which impressions pass.
Our species has been able to construct a more comprehensive picture of our world and universe by a pooling of sensory and
intellectual resources. The deficiencies of one person's senses are compensated for or augmented by the sensory apparatuses of
other people. We have developed instruments to supplement our senses, effectively expanding our nervous systems
technologically. We are evolving into a super-intelligence, a single intellectual organism consisting of millions of brains
connected electronically by computer networks. Gradually, our tiny peepholes into the vast mysteries of the universe are
widening, becoming windows and doorways to the infinite. We may suspect but cannot believe that all this is the work of a
Being of Love.
Although our senses are the starting points for information about our world, it is the organisation, interpretation, synthesis, and
application of sense data that facilitates development of knowledge. We may see that leaves are green but much more is involved
to determine that the pigment is due to chlorophyll, that chlorophyll is a respiratory enzyme essential to photosynthesis and that
photosynthesis is the means whereby plants convert carbon dioxide into starches. From its starting point as a sense impression,
the colour green led us to a concept, "colour", to development of language required to express the concept to others, to
observations and experiments to determine what that colour is and how it functions in the leaf.
As infants, we learn from experience. As adolescents and adults, we learn from teachers, siblings, books, and media, by
thinking, experimenting, and through accidents. If we are deaf, we learn by sight; if we are blind, we learn from hearing, feeling,
and touching. Thus we learn by experience, study, experiment, thought, deduction, accidents, etc.
Let us look at each of these items individually.
Experience has no substitute as a system for gathering knowledge. Immanuel Kant believed that experience helped to increase
knowledge, which started with instinct and intuition. Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, John Locke, David Hume, G.W.F. Hegel,
Herbert Spencer, Auguste Comte and other empiricists believed that all knowledge begins with experience. It is true but not
We recognize an apple by its shape, taste, smell, colour etc., that is by experiencing the object through our sense impressions.
We recognize pleasure and pain, love and hatred also by experience. However, our impressions may not always be true because
our senses may be faulty or limited, providing us with incomplete or distorted information. Descartes rejected his sense-
impressions because they deceived him. He believed that knowledge is gained through reasoning and deduction. The distance
between us and the stars we know only by reason and logic, study, and not by experience.
Development of astronomy and knowledge of the seasons came from experience. People realized that the seasons were dictated
by the position of the earth in relation to sun, moon and stars. Knowledge of astronomy contributed to the development of
agriculture by helping farmers to plant in spring and harvest in autumn.
Marco Polo's visit to the Orient helped spread information to many nations. He described unbelievable experiences, creating
curiosity and motivating others to travel. Travel helped us to experience advances in industry, art, agriculture in different regions
of the world. Those who experienced better systems adopted them.
Knowledge spread through teaching. During Greek civilisation, the Sophists imparted knowledge for a price. When Socrates
asked Hypocrates, "Has Protagoras done you any harm?" Hypocrates replied, "Of course he has, he keeps his wisdom to himself
instead of sharing it with me." The ancient world had many great teachers; Socrates, Xenophon, Plato and Aristotle in Athens;
Cicero, Seneca, and Quintillion in Rome. Teaching was an important profession.
Seneca, exiled in Corsica, was invited by Agrippina to teach Nero, her son. Aristotle was invited to teach the young Alexander
who became "the Great". Queen Christina invited Descartes to be her tutor. St. Paul was proud to say that he was a student of
Gamaliel. There are millions of instances where people sought to become students of great teachers. The Hindu Vedas describe
the importance of teacher-student relationship. The student came to the teacher with reverence and offerings as if before a god.
The Guru had only one disciple who lived with the teacher and learned not only what he taught but also from his behaviour and
attitude in every situation.
Along with knowledge, teachers impart their prejudices. After the destruction of Europe by Teutonic invasion, the Christian
churches took over the function of teaching. This teaching was methodical and conveyed information in an orderly fashion that
helped students develop their own faculties but students were taught only what was acceptable to the Church.
Printing is another system of communication that helps preserve and disseminate knowledge that would otherwise be lost
through forgetfulness. Publication of books helped to broadcast information. Knowledge preserved in writing led readers to
speculate and research further. By studying books, and by learning from teachers, our knowledge developed further.
Books, journals, leaflets, magazines, and newspapers, radio, television, satellites and movies help to educate people and
contribute to increase knowledge.
Another route of knowledge is thought. Thought involves reasoning, reflection, cogitation etc. Sometimes a thought strikes the
mind from nowhere. These are the Creator's promptings without any indication that they have to be acted upon. Just as Noah
built his ark when there was no threat of rain, we see possibilities and build something. If we do not act, promptings decrease
slowly and imperceptibly.
Thought requires leisure. When there is not enough food, search for food takes precedence over everything. Improvements in
hunting, fishing, agriculture and domestication of animals gave more food and leisure to think. When we learned to grow food,
we could stay in one place, with the result discussions, communications, and development of knowledge increased.
When slaves did the work, the masters had leisure to think. Thinking led to induction and deduction, speculation, and
introspection, analysis of experience, observation and experimentation.
Another means of improvement of knowledge is by experiments, sometimes based on a hunch or Joseph Priestly's method
(trying something just to see what will happen). Priestly is said to have conducted many experiments just to find out what would
Sir Henry Bessemer, the nineteenth century English metallurgist, experimented by blowing air through molten pig iron to see
what would happen. It converted pig iron into steel which was so strong that rifle and cannon barrels would not explode from
the pressure. He improved the trajectory by making the bullets spin.
Edison experimented with six thousand different vegetable fibres collected from all parts of the world for the incandescent lamp
Even experiments that failed or went awry, made valuable contributions to our knowledge. Accidental results taught the
researchers very important lessons.
Accidental discoveries in all fields of human activity are so numerous, it is impossible to mention all of them. I will mention just
a few to show that there is a force working behind accidental discoveries.
The use of medicinal herbs could have been by accident. It is possible that when somebody cut a finger and wrapped a leaf
around the wound to stop the bleeding it was found the leaf had healing power. Nobel applied collodion to a cut on his finger and
finding out blasting gelatine. It is possible that early humans came across a burned carcass of an animal caught in a forest-fire
and found it palatable and learned to cook food.
Human beings found that pieces of metal that went through fire were harder and sharper than those that had not. So, humans
discarded their stone tools and used heated and cooled metal tools for hunting.
Charles Goodyear the American inventor started the process of vulcanisation after he accidentally dropped a mixture of sulphur
and rubber on a hot stove and vulcanisation took place.
During the production of nylon, Terylene, Dacron, Teflon, Mylar, polypropylene, polycarbonates, and polystyrene products, the
mistakes that turned out to be useful discoveries are too many to mention here.
When Luigi Galvani dissected a frog's leg, which lay on a table near an electrostatic generator, the leg twitched. This resulted in
the discovery of electricity and Volta producing the electric battery.
During a public demonstration of laughing gas (nitrous oxide) for amusement, Samuel Cooly sustained a severe cut on his leg.
He did not know that he was injured until the effect of the nitrous oxide wore off. This lead to the detection of anaesthetic
properties of this gas and later to the use of diethyl ether and other chemicals for anaesthesia.
In his lab, Friedrich Wohler accidentally synthesised urea from potassium cyanate and ammonium sulphate. This accident led
scientists to prepare organic compounds from inorganic compounds, a feat previously thought impossible.
James Christy discovered Pluto's moon because his Star-Scan machine went out of order. He called a technician to repair it. The
repairman wanted Christy to stay around in case he was needed. While waiting, Christy had time to look once more through the
photograph wherein he had noticed an elongation of the image of Pluto. Thinking it was an aberration, he was going to discard
the photograph. Then he thought that he should look through the archives and see if there were other photographs with such an
aberration. The first photograph he picked up was exactly like the one he was going to discard. Then he found five more. On
further study he found that it was a moon which showed as an elongation of the planet. Thus, by accident Pluto's moon was
Joseph van Mering and Oscar Winkowski in Strasbourg removed the pancreas from a dog to study digestion. An observant
attendant noticed that a lot of flies were attracted to the urine of this dog. When the researchers tested the urine, they found a
large quantity of sugar. This lead to Frederick Banting and Charles Best in Toronto isolating insulin for treatment of diabetes in
When he was going on leave for a few days, Pasteur forgetfully left a culture of Pastuerella multocida, the organism that causes
fowl cholera, on a bench by the side of a window. Due to ageing and the action of sunlight, the culture lost its potency and
became a vaccine.
Ever since Homo habilis emerged through evolution some two million years ago, human beings sought knowledge about the
universe, environment, and themselves. We are anxious to know where we came from, why we are here and where we will go
from here. The answers come slowly. It took nearly a million years to know the benefits of fire. Then we learned to use oil
lamps, to domesticate animals, to cultivate and irrigate crops.
By 2600 BC, we built pyramids; by 1500 BC we established number systems, the seven day week, the fermentation process,
codes of law, medical remedies, alphabets, dyes and conducted exploration of earth by sea. By 1400 BC, we established decimal
From the fifth century BC to the first century AD was a period of rapid growth of knowledge. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
introduced investigative procedures. Pythagoras discovered that the earth is spherical. Eratosthenes estimated the Earth's
diameter from his observation that at noon at Syene (modern Aswan), the sun was overhead and cast no shadow whereas in
Alexandria the sun was at seven degrees and cast a shadow. Archimedes formulated the theory of specific gravity. Aristarchus,
the Greek astronomer, worked out the heliocentric theory and postulated that the known universe revolved around the sun. He
also devised a method of estimating the distance of the sun and moon from earth.
Thus, from the Stone Age we progressed to the Iron Age, Bronze Age, Age of Exploration, Age of Steel, Industrial Revolution,
Age of Science and Technology, machines, electronics, microelectronics, information, and mass media. As the years pass, the
knowledge knocking on our doors is arriving faster and faster.
We now look for galaxies in the universe that have planets with intelligent beings like ourselves. In 1975, the Pioneer space
probe was launched and is now more than 8.8 billion kilometres from the earth, searching for radio signals from intelligent life
forms in outer space. Project Phoenix, with its radio telescope in Parks, Sydney, plans to scan 1000 solar systems for similar
Teilhard de Chardin believed that man will become "a disembodied intelligence, a kind of god if you will.” Chardin wrote that
man has progressed from geogenesis to biogenesis to psychogenesis and now he is entering a stage of development of mind
which he called 'noogenesis'
At present, we are in the age of "Information". We are entering the age of 'consciousness” when we will be able to do anything
we can think of. If we think we can, we can. We will communicate telepathically, appear in and out of the body at will, and
defy the power of gravity.
This may be unbelievable now, but so, once, was the idea of walking on the moon. Many individuals have done the impossible.
St. Joseph of Cupertino rose in the air once to lift and straighten a cross being placed. Haridas entered samadhi for one month.
Even in the physical body, we will be able to do astral travel as Pranabananda, the Indian Yogi did, walk on water as Jesus did,
have psychic powers, clairvoyance, clairaudience, as Edgar Cayce, Peter Hurkos, Ingo Swann, Gerrard Croisette and others
have done, and will practice lung-gom and tumo like Tibetan monks do.
The purpose of creation is companionship. True companionship is between equals. Therefore creator had to make us his equal in
knowledge, power and intelligence. Therefore it is only logical that God will want to reveal all his secrets to us. To enable us to
receive all his secrets, He has to double and re-double our knowledge many times. Doubling is taking place in shorter and shorter
To many of us, this is a questionable and unprovable postulate. When we know the nature of the Creator we will know the
purpose of creation. (explained in"The Purpose of Creation" by the same author) The doubling of knowledge is taking place by
various means. I will describe some of them below.
Knowledge helped to eliminate diseases, improve sanitation, and to produce better and more nourishing food. Thus, our life span
increased and this in turn contributed to increase of knowledge.
The use of computers has accelerated the doubling of knowledge. Some computer-experts estimated that computer knowledge
doubled ten times between 1986 to 1990. New programs become available and old programs become obsolete. Towards the end
of 1990, so many new improvements were taking place in the manufacture of computers that a model became obsolete in a
matter of five months. Before that model reached the market, its replacement was in production.
The discovery of silicon chips to replace the cumbersome vacuum tubes used in the first computers such as ENIAC has vastly
helped the development of the digital computer. A chip held 2300 transistors in 1971. The same chip, and the size of an average
fingernail, holds 100 million transistors now. The computer manufacturer, Intel, is in the process of manufacturing sixth,
seventh, and eighth generation personal computers with even greater storage and speed capabilities.
Professor Peter Cochrane, head of British Telecom High Tech Laboratories at Hartlesham Heath, Suffolk, predicts that by the
year 2020, silicone chips will be introduced into the human brain. Already, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in
Martinsread, Germany has introduced it into the brain of a leech. In 1995, it was reported that they had established a link
between a nerve cell of a leech and a silicone chip. Professor Cochrane believes that by the year 2015, the twenty-four million
volumes in the U.S. Library of Congress can be on a computer in each person's home.
The recent discovery and development of micromotors has enabled scientists and engineers to photographically reproduce
complex electrical circuits in miniature form on to silicon wafers, creating chips that enable advancement of computers. More
improvements in the ability to fabricate complex mechanical systems powered by electrostatic means are in the process.
According to this system, 7000 micromotors can be produced in a single circular silicon wafer 10 cm in diameter.
More accurate prediction of long term weather and climatic patterns is now possible by satellites that give more precise
information than earthbound weather stations.
Now, the WorldWide Web of computer networks and the access it provides to databases in every country has superseded
printing as the distributor of knowledge. No longer is there a lengthy time gap between a discovery and dissemination of news.
Up-to-date knowledge is transmitted electronically in milliseconds. The use of fibre optics has helped to bring in cyberspace.
The earth has become a global village.
In the field of biotechnology our achievements are even greater. During the last few decades we have succeeded in replacing
various organs such as the heart, liver and lungs with artificial substitutes. New medical techniques such as endoscopy,
amniocentesis, kidney dialysis, monoclonal antibodies, and angioplasty, have increased our ability to diagnose and treat diseases.
Foetuses are surgically treated while in the womb.
In the field of bioengineering, we manufacture genes from nucleotides and the genes synthesise proteins and chemicals. We
transfer human genes to bacteria, plants and mice. Genetic engineers now produce potatoes with less starch, rice with more
protein, coffee without caffeine, fish that grow ten times faster than normal, cows which produce 25% more milk, etc.
Scientists have mapped the human genome. We have the ability to locate defective chromosomes and undesirable genes and
change them. By altering the genetic make up of animals we will be able to use the organs of these transgenic animals to meet
the demands for organs to transplant. Very soon we may be walking around with pigs' hearts. All these developments, which
have taken place within the last half-century, prove that knowledge is increasing at a faster pace.
Thus, in every sphere of activity, from astronomy to zoology, from superstars to quarks, we have advanced. As knowledge
grows, the rate of growth accelerates in both volume and speed. Knowledge doubles. The time of doubling and redoubling
becomes shorter and shorter.
Isaac Asimov, in his Chronology of Science and Discovery, did a magnificent work of compiling discoveries that contributed to
the increase of knowledge from four million BC to 1988 AD. Out of thousands of discoveries, projects, and programs which
helped to increase our knowledge, Asimov selected about 1500.
More recent studies have concluded that just before 1950, knowledge was doubling every fifty years. In the seventies,
knowledge was doubling every fifteen years, and in the eighties every five years. During the first half of the nineties computer
programs are being replaced every four months. If this doubling continues in shorter and shorter intervals and if we extend this
principle to infinity, we see that knowledge will double in a month, a day, an hour, a minute, a second and finally it will become
instantaneous meaning that as soon as a problem is posed, the answer is found. That means everything is known or there is
nothing unknown. By definition, the only all-knowing Being is God and when nothing is unknown to man, man becomes an all-
knowing being. Such a purpose is a function of love. Love has to share everything it has and cannot hold back anything. Such
enlightenment will not take place in the whole human race simultaneously. It will be individuals who get enlightened.
We will be surprised to hear that there is no calamity in life. All adversities are opportunities for achievements. It is not what
happens to us but how we react to what happens to us that makes the difference.
Could God reveal all the secrets to man? Yes! Then the credit would go to God. But God wants man to solve these puzzles and
get the credit.Therefore He gives clues as intuition to solve the puzzles.
Just as I am anxious to teach my children everything I know, God is anxious to reveal every mystery to humans, to give
humans everything He has. Why? Because He created humans for companionship. He adores and idolises humans. In His attempt
to create a companion of equal status, among all animals, humans seem to be in the top rungs.
He imparts knowledge without great display of benevolence. It is His intention to teach man to be independent and be self-
sufficient. Therefore, He conveys knowledge indirectly, so surreptitiously, that we do not understand the part that God plays in
producing sudden insights.
Many great scientists, including Newton, erroneously believed that God had no hand in their discoveries. Once, Halley asked
Newton why he made more discoveries than most men, alluding that there was some special divine benefaction. Newton replied
that he solved problems not by inspiration or intuition, but by working very hard, continually thinking about the problems until he
had solved them.
God can teach only as much as we can understand. At every opportunity He nudges us to action, to learn. To learn, we have to
tune in. Tuning in is learning to listen to the inner voice. To hear the inner voice we have to shut out the external voices. Then
only we can hear the inner voice about which Socrates, Joan of Arc, Swedenborg, and others spoke.
Unless we have knowledge and an open mind, we will not recognise the opportunity. If we know nothing about the diamond,
we might think that every piece of diamond is a piece of glass that glitters.
Watson and Crick selected a double helix model by pure chance to solve the puzzle of DNA instead of the triple helix model
recommended by Linus Pauling. When they solved the puzzle in March of 1953, we did not expect to be able to create organisms
to suit our needs and whims by 1993.
There are many instances of simultaneous discoveries. How do two or more people, unknown to each other, work on the same
problem and arrive at the same conclusion simultaneously? Quite often, each will blame the other for copying the work whereas
in reality neither knew that the other was working on the same project.
British biologist Sir Aleister Hardy thinks that even animals develop a group mind and that all species might be linked by a
cosmic mind to convey information through space. Rupert Sheldrake, another biologist, agrees with Hardy. They quote
instances of monkeys washing sweet potatoes to get rid of sand. Monkeys on Koshima Island started it. After a few months,
monkeys on another island with no contact, started to do the same thing.
Sheldrake says that rats that have learned to run a maze transmit this knowledge to rats in other laboratories. What is the proof?
The second group learned the trick in a shorter period than the first group. He calls this concept "morphogenetic fields" and
believes that this faculty is similar to the simultaneous discoveries by human beings.
I believe the human mind is the link. When we see monkeys on one island do it, we think, "Why don't those on the other island
do the same thing?" and this information travels to the monkeys on the other island. Every process is to hasten our progress
from earthly beings of limited knowledge to celestial beings with wider knowledge. This progress has to come step by step. So,
nature searches for prepared minds and two or more persons become aware of a problem and work on it. The problem is solved
independently and often simultaneously. Some examples are given below.
Joseph Henry in America and Michael Faraday in England simultaneously discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetic
In 1874 van't Hoff in Holland and Le Bel in France proposed simultaneously the theory of stereoisomerism in which the same
atom in the same molecule but in a different location within the molecule will change the nature of the molecule.
Edme' Mariotte (1620-84), a French physicist and priest, independently discovered Boyle's law of gases and added that
temperature should be constant.
Both Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716) independently discovered calculus at the same time.
However, Newton did not publish his work. He developed this system to calculate the gravitational force of the sun and to
resolve the revolutionary elliptical paths of the planets. About 10 years later, when Leibnitz wrote to Newton about the paths of
the planets, Newton replied saying that he had already worked out that system.
Newton's Law, that force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the body to its centre of rotation, was
independently discovered by Robert Hooke (1635-1703).
Hennig Brand (1630-1698), in Germany, and Robert Boyle (1627-1691) in England, independently discovered phosphorus.
Hennig Brand was looking for the Philosopher's Stone and it occurred to him that he could find it in urine. Instead, he found a
white, waxy substance that glowed in the dark. He called it phosphorus, meaning light bearer. Ten years later, Boyle found
phosphorus the same way.
Henry Cavendish (1731-1810), an English chemist, and James Watt, (1736-1819) a Scottish engineer, independently exploded
hydrogen and oxygen and found droplets of water was the product. Controversy ensued over which of the two men had priority
of this discovery.
William Sturgeon (1783-1850) in England and Hans Christian Oerstedt (1777-1851) in Sweden independently found that a piece
of iron becomes an electromagnet when an electric current is passed through a coil wound around the iron.
Sir Joseph Thomson (1856-1940) and Charles-Francois DuFay (1698-1739) discovered electrons independently. DuFay thought
that there were two kinds, and called one vitreous and the other resinous electricity.
When Hermann Oberth was advising the German war lords about liquid fuel for long range missiles, Robert Goddard (1882-
1945) an American physicist was working on similar fuels in 1929.
Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) in England and George Robert Kirchhoff (1824-1887) in Germany discovered that each element
produced its own spectral lines.
John Lockyer in England and Pierre Janssen in India identified, almost at the same time, the yellow spectral lines of helium in the
In 1846, John Adams (1819-1892) at Cambridge University and Urbain Joseph Leverrier (1811-1877) at Ecole Polytechnic in
Paris independently calculated the spot where Neptune would be found.
Charles Darwin (1838) and Alfred Wallace (1848) worked independently on the theory of evolution. When Wallace was in
Indonesia, he had an attack of malaria and decided to convey to Darwin without delay a thought that arose in his mind. He
drafted a letter and mailed it the next day. When Darwin read that letter, he was surprised to see that Wallace’s findings were
very similar to his own unpublished theory. In Wallace's letter, Darwin saw confirmation of his own ideas, though Wallace was
trying to convey his belief that an activity of the spirit pervades the universe.
In 1870, Robert Koch in Germany and Pasteur in France independently discovered that a bacillus was the cause of anthrax.
In 1897, Batista Grassi in Italy and Ronald Ross in Calcutta worked out the life history of the malarial parasite.
Bernigaud Chardonnet (1839-1924) in France and Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) in England patented the same process
of developing rayon within a few months of each other.
Louis Daguerre (1789-1851) in France and William Talbot (1800-1877) in England independently developed the principle of
Julius Meyer (1830-95) in Germany and Dmitri Mendeleyev
(1834-1907) in Russia discovered simultaneously the periodic table of the chemical elements.
Matthias J. Schleiden (1804-81) and Theodore Schwann (1810-82) of Germany independently formulated the cell theory, which
says that all living matter is made up of cells and that each cell is an independent co-operative unit.
The Wright brothers in America and Richard Peers in New Zealand at the same time developed the aeroplane. Richard Peers
flew two years before the Wright brothers but he was a loner and never published. The Wright brothers arrived at the same
result without knowing the work of Peers.
The jet engine was developed simultaneously by a German engineer, Paul Schmidt, and by British engineer, Whittle, of the RAF
College at Cranwell.
Edwin Hubble (1889-1950) in the U.S., Abbe Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966) in Belgium, and Willem Sitter (1872-1934) in
Holland, all worked out the theory of the receding universe at the same time.
Soviet physicist Vladimir Veksler (1907-66) and Edwin McMillan in California independently devised a "Synchronised Cyclotron"
at the same time.
Edward Purcell in Harvard and Felix Bloch in Stanford independently developed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study the
interior of living organisms without damage to the tissues that X-rays would cause.
Godfrey Hounsfield, an electric engineer working for a private company in London, and Allan Cormack, a Physicist at Tufts
University in Boston, developed the CAT scanner (Computerised axial tomography) independently at the same time. When
attached to a computer, it will scan and magnify a minute area and facilitate diagnosis of the condition. In October 1979, the
Nobel Prize for inventing CATscanner was awarded to these two scientists.
William Hampson in England and Karl von Linde in Germany independently liquefied air on a large scale in 1895
Hugo De Vries of Holland, Karl Erich Correns ( 1864-1933) of Germany and Erich von Tschermak of Austria studied
Mendelianism in plants without knowing that the other two were doing the same or that Mendel had done the work. In a final
check of previous publications, all three came across Mendel's paper. All three published in 1900, each citing Mendel's paper
and giving Mendel full credit for the discovery, publishing his own work as confirmation.
The fundamental principles of television were developed independently in Germany, England, France, Scotland, Russia, and the
U.S. during the 1920s. Sawyer in the U.S. and Morris Leblanc in France proposed a rapid scanning of a scene line by line to
build up a picture.
Baird in England and Jenkins in the U.S. independently succeeded in the transmission of an image between cities.
Joseph Henry (1823) in America and Michael Faraday (1831) in England independently found electrical induction. Each
published their findings within a few months of each other.
Sir Chandrasekhara Venketaraman independently discovered the Compton effect (the light-scattering effect of molecules) before
Compton. This discovery helped in the study of molecular structure.
Electric lamps with glowing filaments were developed independently by Sir Joseph W. Swan (1825-1914) in Britain and Edison
(1847-1931) in America towards the close of the 1870s.
Hendrik Lorentz (1853-1928) in Holland and George Fitzgerald (1851-1901) in Ireland independently discovered the Fitzerald
Contraction of objects due to speed.
Albert Michaelson (1852-1931) and Edward Morley (1838-1923) did an experiment to decide if there is any difference in the
velocity of light because of the earth's motion. They failed to detect the difference because of an error in their investigation. The
error was the contraction due to speed. A foot length will become six inches if the ruler is travelling at a speed of 161,000
miles/second. At the speed of light of 186,282, the contraction will be full and the length will be zero in the direction of travel.
Lorentz advanced the same theory independently. Hence, it is now known as Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction.
Weller and co-workers at Harvard, Parkman and co-workers at Walter Reed Army Institute in 1961, working independently
reported isolation of Rubella virus and its successful growth in cell cultures.
Warren Nirenberg (1927- ), Gobind Khorona (1922 -), and Robert Holley (1922 - ) independently worked out the genetic code,
and the structure of DNA and RNA. They shared the Nobel Prize in 1968.
Nathaniel Palmer in the U.S.A. and Bellingshausen in Russia charted the area of the Antarctic at the same time.
In 1907 Hendrik Baekeland (1863-1944) in U.S.A. and James Swinburne in U.K. simultaneously patented Bakelite, (phenol-
There are hundreds and thousands more of such instances of simultaneous discoveries. They will fill many volumes. I believe
that when the time is right, the Universal being sends the project around the globe so that whoever is prepared will work at it. I
also believe this shows that God wants to reveal these secrets. Each one receives knowledge according to his or her capacity,
and each has the freedom to receive it or reject it.
How is it that two or more people in different places are working on the same topic and getting the same answer? Is it purely
accidental? Such wide spread accidents! Certainly not. There is an unknown force directing all events in the universe. Because
we cannot see it, we say there is no such force.
Once we understand that God is infinite unconditional love, we will realise that God wants to impart all His knowledge to us.
There are hundreds and thousands more questions, questions about the universe and about ourselves. The answers will come
slowly. Just as we teach our children with puzzles, God gives puzzles for us to solve. We don't solve the puzzles for our
children. If we were to solve them we would rob our children of their joy, self-satisfaction, independence, pride, and their
development. Sometimes we give a little help to our children to solve the puzzles. Similarly, God gives a hint or two through
intuition, accident, dreams, etc. Young children get easy puzzles and grown-ups get harder puzzles. Similarly, God gives puzzles
according to the capability of each individual.
He imparts knowledge without great display of benevolence. Therefore, He conveys knowledge indirectly, so surreptitiously that
we do not understand the part the God plays. That is why many scientists say that they solved the puzzles themselves.
Eventually, we will know everything.
In every sphere of activity from astronomy to zoology, from superstars to quarks, we have advanced. As knowledge grows, the
rate of growth accelerates in both volume and speed. Knowledge doubles and re-doubles and the time for doubling and re-
doubling becomes shorter and shorter. We understand that God is infinite unconditional love, we will realise that God wants to
impart all his knowledge to us. It is the nature of love.
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