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Jagadish Chandra Bose: Indian Scientist, Inventor and Polymath

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Jagadish Chandra Bose

Jagadish Chandra Bose

Who Was Jagadish Chandra Bose?

Jagadish Chandra Bose was an Indian scientist, inventor, and polymath who worked in the field of physics, biology, and archaeology. He is best known for his pioneering work on radio waves and the development of the crescograph, a device that is used to measure the growth of plants.

Bose developed a number of devices that were used to study the properties of electromagnetic waves. In addition to his other work, Bose also conducted important research into the behaviour of gases and the effects of pressure on solids and liquids.

In addition to his scientific work, Bose developed a number of innovative devices, and he was a pioneer in the field of archaeology and made important discoveries related to the history and culture of ancient India.

Bose received many awards and honours for his scientific contributions, including the Order of the Indian Empire and the Order of the Star of India.

Early Years

Bose was born in 1858 in the village of Munshiganj in present-day Bangladesh. He received his early education in India and went on to study at the University of London. After completing his studies, he returned to India and worked as a professor of physics at the University of Calcutta.

jagadish-chandra-bose-indian-scientist-inventor-and-polymath

Bose's Career

Bose was one of the first scientists to demonstrate the existence of radio waves, and he developed a number of early radio receivers and transmitters. In addition to his work on microwaves and radio waves, Bose made important contributions to the fields of plant physiology and biophysics. He developed a number of instruments and techniques for studying the responses of plants to various stimuli, and he was one of the first scientists to demonstrate that plants have a nervous system and are able to perceive and respond to their environment.

Bose developed a number of innovative technologies, including a device for measuring the elasticity of metals, a device for measuring the surface tension of liquids, and a number of other scientific instruments.

Despite his many achievements, Bose faced significant challenges in his career due to his ethnicity and the prejudice of the scientific establishment. However, he persevered and continued to make important contributions to the scientific community. Today, he is remembered as one of India's greatest scientists and a pioneer in the fields of microwaves, radio waves, and plant physiology.

Bose's Main Achievements

Jagadish Chandra Bose's main achievements include:

  1. Pioneering work on the study of microwaves: Bose was responsible for the development of the first microwave detector.
  2. Demonstrating the existence of radio waves: Bose was one of the first scientists to demonstrate the existence of radio waves, and he developed a number of early radio receivers and transmitters.
  3. Contributions to plant physiology and biophysics: Bose made important contributions to the fields of plant physiology and biophysics. He developed a number of instruments and techniques for studying the responses of plants to various stimuli, and he was one of the first scientists to demonstrate that plants have a nervous system and can perceive and respond to their environment.
  4. Development of innovative technologies: Bose was also an accomplished inventor and engineer, and he developed amongst other things, a device for measuring the elasticity of metals, a device for measuring the surface tension of liquids, and other scientific instruments.
  5. Overcoming challenges due to ethnicity and prejudice: Despite his many achievements, Bose faced significant challenges in his career due to his ethnicity and the prejudice of the scientific establishment.

Bose's Crescograph

The crescograph was invented by Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose in the late 19th century. It allowed scientists to study the growth of plants in a more precise and quantitative manner.

It consists of a frame with a movable pen that is attached to the plant being measured. As the plant grows, the pen records the growth on a piece of graph paper. A picture of Bose's crescograph is shown below:

Bose's Crescograph to Measure the Growth of Plants

Bose's Crescograph to Measure the Growth of Plants

Bose's Publications

Some of Bose's publications include:

  1. "On the Polarization of Electric Ray's Shock" (1894) - a paper published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society that described Bose's experiments on the electric ray, a type of fish that can produce electrical shocks. This paper was one of the first to demonstrate the existence of microwaves.
  2. "The Nervous Mechanism of Plants" (1897) - a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society in which Bose described his experiments on the responses of plants to various stimuli. This paper was one of the first to demonstrate that plants have a nervous system and can perceive and respond to their environment.
  3. "The Physiology of Photosynthesis" (1909) - a paper published in the journal Nature in which Bose described his experiments on the role of light in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy.
  4. "The Plant: An Instrument for the Physical Study of Electrical and Magnetic Phenomena" (1924) - a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society in which Bose described his development of instruments and techniques for studying the electrical and magnetic properties of plants.
  5. "The House of Painted Clay" (1934) - a book in which Bose described his excavations of the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro in present-day Pakistan and his findings on the Indus Valley Civilization.

Racism Experienced by Bose

Bose received his education in England, where he studied at the University of London and Cambridge University. Despite his outstanding academic performance, he was often treated unfairly due to his ethnicity, and he struggled with racial discrimination and prejudice throughout his career. For example, Bose was not allowed to join the Royal Society, a prestigious scientific organization in the United Kingdom, because of his ethnicity. He was also not given full credit for his contributions to the field of microwaves and the development of the first microwave detector, which were instead attributed to the German physicist Heinrich Hertz.

Bose left Cambridge having achieved an amazing degree and travelled back to British India. Sadly, he experienced prejudice there too, as the British did not want a native Indian to have a career in engineering or pure science.

Even though the Viceroy, Lord Ripon intervened and recommended Bose as a professor of physics at the Presidency College in Calcutta, the college staff were unhappy to have him there. College staff did not want to have a local Indian imposed on them, so they colluded and decided to only give Bose a third of the salary that a European professor would earn. As a protest, Bose refused to take any salary for three years,

Despite these challenges, Bose persevered and continued to make important contributions to the scientific community. Today, he is remembered as one of India's greatest scientists.

Jagadish Chandra Bose Microwave Apparatus

Jagadish Chandra Bose Microwave Apparatus

Jagadish Chandra Bose Microwave Apparatus

Jagadish Chandra Bose Microwave Apparatus

(R) Spark-gap transmitter, with a Righi spark gap consisting of 3 tiny platinum beads, driven by an induction coil, contained inside an iron box to prevent the magnetic field of the coil from interfering with the receiver. The microwaves passed out through a cylindrical or rectangular waveguide, pointed at the stand

(T) Key. When it was pressed, a single spark would jump across the spark gap, creating a short pulse of microwaves

(S) Spectrometer circle stand, graduated in degrees

(M) Plane mirror

(F) Receiver horn with detector consisting of fine steel springs compressed in box

(t) Thumbscrew to adjust pressure on detector

(G) Galvanometer attached to detector

(V) Liquid battery to bias detector

(r) Potentiometer to adjust bias

(C) Concave mirror

(p) Prism

(P) Half-cylinders for demonstrating internal reflection

(K) Crystal holder for testing transmission of minerals

Personal Life

Bose was the eldest of seven siblings and was raised in a traditional Hindu family. He received his early education at a local school in Mymensingh, and then went on to study at the Hindu School in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) and later at St. Xavier's College, also in Calcutta. He graduated from St. Xavier's College with a degree in natural science in 1879.

Bose married Abala Bose in 1887 and the couple had two children: a son, Amlan Dutta Bose, and a daughter, Mrinalini Dutta Bose. Bose was a devoted husband and father and was known to be a kind and gentle man. He was also very active in social and charitable work and was involved in several organizations that worked for the welfare of the poor and disadvantaged.

Throughout his life, Bose was deeply interested in science and was known for his innovative research and experimental approach to scientific investigation. He was a pioneer in the field of radio waves and is credited with making some of the earliest discoveries in this area. His work had a significant influence on the development of wireless communication and he is considered one of the fathers of modern radio science.

Death

Bose died on November 23, 1937. He was also a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement and was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2023 Mr Singh