Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose

Jagdish Chandra Bose was born on November 30, 1858 in Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh). He was a Bengali polymath: a physicist, biologist, botanist, archaeologist, and writer of science fiction. He pioneered the investigation of radio and microwave optics, made very significant contributions to plant science, and laid the foundations of experimental science in the Indian subcontinent.

He is considered one of the fathers of radio science, and is also considered the father of Bengali science fiction. He was the first from the Indian subcontinent to get a US patent, in 1904. It was Jagadish Chandra Bose, who explained that plants also suffer pain like us. Though he worked in other fields of science, he is best known for his research into the life of plants.

He had his early education in village school in Bengal medium. In 1869, Jagadish Chandra Bose was sent to Calcutta to learn English and was educated at St.Xavier's School and College. He was a brilliant student. He passed the B.A. in physical sciences in 1879. He was appointed professor of physical science at Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1885 and retained this post until 1915. In 1917 he founded and became director of the Bose Research Institute, Calcutta. He was knighted in 1917 and in 1920 became the first Indian to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

His most famous work concerned his investigations into plant physiology and the similarities between the behavioral response of plant and animal tissue. By devising extremely sensitive instruments he was able to demonstrate the minute movements of plants to external stimuli and to measure their rate of growth.

Another of Bose's amazing achievements was his invention of the 'crescograph'. The crescograph was an electrical instrument that could measure the growth of a plant accurately.

JC Bose demonstrated the existence and propaganda of wireless waves in 1885. His work on devices for receiving the polarization of electric waves was later exploited by Marconi who designed a long distance radio signalling device.

Sir J. C. Bose holds the first patent worldwide to invent a solid-state diode detector to detect EM waves. The detector was built using a galena crystal. He worked at millimeter wavelengths which were almost nonexistent for nearly 50 years. J.C. Bose was at least this much ahead of his time.

Bose also wrote a number of books and research papers based on his work and findings in both English and Bengali. Several were translated into other European languages too.

Bose was honoured both in India and outside for his contributions to science. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society on May 13, 1920, becoming the first Indian to be honoured by the Royal Society in the field of Science.

Suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, J.C. Bose passed away on November 23, 1937 at the age of 79.

Bose’s place in history has now been re-evaluated, and he is credited with the invention of the first wireless detection device and the discovery of millimetre length electromagnetic waves and considered a pioneer in the field of biophysics.

Many of his instruments are still on display and remain largely usable now, over 100 years later. They include various antennas, polarisers, and waveguides, which remain in use in modern forms today.

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