Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937)

India’s Sir J.C. Bose was one of the greatest interdisciplinary scientists. Sir Nevill Mott, Nobel Laureate in 1977, had remarked about him that he was at least 60 years ahead of his time.

He worked in a very poor research set-up and made some path-breaking discoveries both in Physics and Botany.

He is known to have made a public demonstration of long-distance radio communication in 1896 in presence of the then Governor of Bengal. Subsequently, the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi demonstrated trans-Atlantic radio communication in 1901 and got the Nobel Prize in 1909 jointly with Karl Ferdinand Braun for contribution to the development of wireless telegraphy.

Moreover, the receiving device used by Marconi was first invented by Bose and the details of the invention were presented to the Royal Society. That is why; many scientists strongly believe that Bose was not treated fairly.

Contributions of J.C. Bose in Physics and Physiology

Bose was a pioneer in the field of electro-magnetic waves and is widely regarded as the first scientist who demonstrated the phenomenon of wireless transmission of electromagnetic waves. The Daily Chronicle of England noted in 1896: “J.C. Bose has transmitted signals to a distance of nearly a mile and herein lies the first and obvious and exceedingly valuable application of this new theoretical marvel. Bose was also the first to use a semi-conducting crystal as a detector of radio waves.”

Bose’s work on plant response to stress and stimulus has opened up new opportunities in the area of stress physiology to develop crop varieties that are tolerant to drought, floods and salinity which are some of the serious consequences of climate change. His work on Mimosa and Desmodium helped establish that plants respond to stress and stimuli much the same way animals do. Bose explained why the lotus opens its petals at sunrise and closes them at sunset.

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