Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan today claimed that cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who passed away this week, had said the Vedas have a theory that is superior to Albert Einstein's e=mc^2 theory of relativity.
Vardhan, who was addressing the inaugural session of the 105th Indian Science Congress here, however, parried questions on the source of the information.
“We recently lost a renowned scientist, cosmologist Stephen Hawking. He also emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory which is superior to the Einstein's theory of e=mc^2,” Vardhan said in his speech.
Asked to disclose the source to buttress his claim, Vardhan told reporters, “You find the source. He had on record said that there is a possibility that Vedas have a better formula than the one given by Einstein. You also work a bit on this (to find this source),”
He told the reporters that could get back to him in Delhi if they failed in their research.
"I have said this in an open forum. I thought he needs to be remembered (on the occasion).”
A Google search on Stephen Hawking and Vedas throws open several links, one of which, www.Servveda.Org, makes the claim. The website, hosted by the Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas, in turn referenced a post on a fake Stephen Hawking profile on Facebook. A source close to the minister confirmed Vardhan had quoted from the I-SERVE website, reported The Indian Express.
The portal also claims that the organisation I-SERVE is recognised by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) of the government of India as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
Einstein's theory of relativity is a critical contribution to modern physics.
Several claims made in past editions of the Indian Science Congress have come under criticism by the scientific community for not being backed by empirical evidence.
For instance, a lecture in the 102nd Indian Science Congress held in Mumbai examined ancient aviation technology in the Vedas and claimed that aeroplanes existed in India 7,000 years ago and they travelled from one country to another and from one planet to another.
The Indian Science Congress is an annual science carnival, which is attended by students, academicians and top scientists from India and the world over.