Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, born in Bengal Presidency (present-day Bangladesh) in 1858, was a physicist, biologist and also an archeologist. His contribution in plant science is particularly noteworthy. He also made significant contributions in pioneering radio technology and was named as one of the fathers of radio science by IEEE. We often tend to forget the contribution of our scientists and to remind you about a few, here are some facts about Sir J C Bose which will make every Indian proud:
Studied Elementary School in his Vernacular Language
“At that time, sending children to English schools was an aristocratic status symbol. In the vernacular school, to which I was sent, the son of the Muslim attendant of my father sat on my right side, and the son of a fisherman sat on my left. They were my playmates. I listened spellbound to their stories of birds, animals and aquatic creatures. Perhaps these stories created in my mind a keen interest in investigating the workings of Nature. When I returned home from school accompanied by my school fellows, my mother welcomed and fed all of us without discrimination. Although she was an orthodox old-fashioned lady, she never considered herself guilty of impiety by treating these ‘untouchables’ as her own children. It was because of my childhood friendship with them that I could never feel that there were ‘creatures’ who might be labelled 'low-caste'. I never realised that there existed a 'problem' common to the two communities, Hindus and Muslims.”
Conducted his research despite racial discrimination and a lack of funding and equipment in the British Raj
He had degrees from the Universities of Cambridge and London but came back to India to become a Professor of Physics at Presidency College. However, the principal and other faculty, were white, and were very racially biased against him and gave only an acting appointment. They denied him any laboratory facilities, so he carried on his research work, buying equipment with his own salary.
Invented a sophisticated instrument called the Crescograph
A crescograph is a measuring tool that he invented to track growth in plants. By magnifying the process by 10,000 times, Bose proved plants had nervous systems. He found that their growth changed according to different stimuli: pleasant sounds spurred it while harsh ones obstructed it. He went on to test how plant tissues react to seasonal changes, chemical inhibitors, temperature variations and more all to prove that they “feel pain and understand affection.”
First to send an electromagnetic wave across 75 feet
In November 1894 (or 1895) public demonstration at Town Hall of Kolkata, Bose ignited gunpowder and rang a bell at a distance using millimetre range wavelength microwaves. Lieutenant Governor Sir William Mackenzie witnessed Bose's demonstration in the Kolkata Town Hall. Bose wrote in a Bengali essay, Adrisya Alok (Invisible Light), "The invisible light can easily pass through brick walls, buildings etc. Therefore, messages can be transmitted by means of it without the mediation of wires."
Pioneer in radio and microwaves
He also invented the Mercury Coherer, a radio wave receiver that was later used by Guglielmo Marconi to build the first operational transatlantic two-way radio that was capable of communicating across 2,000 miles. However, scientists around the world now acknowledge him as the true pioneer.
Knighted In England in 1917
In 1903 Bose was honoured with Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) at Delhi by the British Government. He received in 1912 the Commander of the Star of India (CSI) at the Coronation of the British Emperor. He was knighted by the British Government in 1916. Bose was elected a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) of London in 1928.
Became the first Indian to get a US patent, for his "detector for electrical disturbances"
He wasn’t fond of patents, in fact as per Vigyan Prasar, “Bose was very much against in patenting his invention. He had resolved not to seek any personal advantage from his invention. He pursued science to only for itself but for its application to the benefit of mankind. In his Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution, London, he made public his construction of the coherer." Thus The Electric Engineer expressed ‘surprise that no secret was at any time made as to its construction, so that it has been open to all the world to adopt it for practical and possibly moneymaking purposes.’ In 1901, one of the great manufacturers of wireless apparatus, approached Bose for signing a remunerative agreement as to his new type of receiver. However, Bose declined the offer. One of his American friends, Sara Bull (also known as Mrs. Ole Bull), was able to persuade Bose to file a patent application for his galena receiver. The application was filed on 30 September 1901 and it was granted on 29 March 1904 (US patent No. 755,840). However, Bose refused to accept his rights and allowed to lapse the patent later.
Authored two illustrious books ‘Response in the Living and Non-living’ (1902) and ‘The Nervous Mechanism of Plants’ (1926)
He published his research and other works by articulating the science into words. Between his experiments, Bose also found time to write science fiction. His famous story Polatok Tufan describes how a cyclone was stopped using a bottle of hair oil (Since it's known that oil stills the surface of water by changing surface tension). The initial Niruddesher Kahini (The Story of the Missing One), a short story that was later expanded and added to the collection Abyakta became very famous, earning him the title of the father of Bengali Sci-Fi.
A crater on the moon has been named in his honour
A lunar crater of 91 kilometres diameter was named “The Bose Crater” in honour of Bose which lies just next to Crater Bhabha, dedicated to Homi Jehangir Bhabha, father of the Indian atomic energy programme.
India and even the world at large is thankful to you sir!
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