Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose returned to India in the year 1885, with a BSc degree from the University of London and Natural Science Tripos from the University of Cambridge. He joined the Presidency College of the University of Calcutta as a Physics Professor. In spite of racial discrimination and a scarcity of equipment and funding, Bose continued with his scientific research and made notable progress in remote wireless signalling research and became the first to use semiconductor junctions for detecting radio signals. Instead of gaining commercially from this invention, Jagadish Chandra Bose made his inventions public, in order to aid others to develop on his research. Bose made substantial discoveries in plant physiology. One of his inventions is the Cresco graph, which he used to measure plant's response to different stimuli, and thus scientifically proved the parallelism between plant and animal tissues. Even if Bose registered for a patent for one of his inventions as a result of his peer pressure, his unwillingness to any type of patenting of his inventions was known by all. He is being recognized for a number of his contributions in the field of modern science.
In the year 1894, Bose planned to devote himself to pure research. He used a small enclosure close to a bathroom in Presidency College in Kolkata to serve as a laboratory. There, he carried out extensive experiments of diffraction, refraction and polarization. He could rightly be called as the inventor of wireless telegraphy. In the year 1895, prior to a year Guglielmo Marconi patented this invention, Bose had demonstrated the functioning of wireless telegraphy in public. Later, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose switched from the study of physics to the study of metals and afterwards to plants. Bose fabricated an extremely sensitive 'coherer', a device which detects radio waves. He observed that the sensitivity of the coherer gets reduced when it was used continuously without any break for a long time and the same regained its lost sensitivity when the device gets some rest. Thus, Bose concluded that metals possess memory and feelings.
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose demonstrated with experiments that plants too hold life. An instrument was invented by him to record the plant pulses and connected the device to a plant. The plant, connected to the device, with its roots was picked up carefully and dipped in a vessel having bromide, till its stem. The pulse beat of the plant recorded by the instrument was a steady to-and-fro movement similar to the pendulum of a clock. The steady movement soon became unsteady and soon the spot vibrated in a violent way and then stopped suddenly and it suggested that the plant had died due to poison and hence the pulse beat stopped. Even if Bose did priceless work in Science, his work was acknowledged when the Western world understood its importance. Bose founded the Bose Institute at Kolkata in West Bengal, devoted primarily to the study of plants. Today, this Institute also carries research on various other fields.
During 1894-1900, Bose did research on radio waves and formed waves as short as 5 millimetres. His works predates that of Guglielmo Marconi who is also associated with the development of radio. Unlike Marconi who looked for commercializing his work with radio waves, Bose was solely interested in radio waves in the form of a scientific endeavour. Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose also developed equipment for transmitting, generating and receiving radio waves and utilized them to demonstrate conclusively the property of the waves like total reflection, refraction, reflection, double refraction and polarization. He also experimented with galena to prepare an early type of semiconductor diode which can be used an electromagnetic waves detector. After 1900, he started pursuing another filed - plant and animal physiology. Bose introduced a number of sensitive and delicate instruments like the Chrestograph, which records plant growth. It has the capacity to magnify a small movement as much as a million times. Bose developed another device which demonstrates the effect of electromagnetic waves on nonliving and living matter.
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose retired in the year 1915 and was appointed Emeritus Professor, Presidency College, Kolkata, for a period of five years. In the year 1917, he founded the Bose Research Institute in Kolkata which was also India's first scientific research institute. In the same year Bose was conferred a knighthood. In the year 1920, he was honoured to be the first scientist of India elected to the prestigious Royal Society of Britain. He travelled frequently to United States and Europe on a number of scientific missions and gave lectures on subjects like electromagnetic waves, the effects of electromagnetic waves on non living and living matter, and plant physiology. Bose always believed in the sharing of scientific knowledge and had a strong opinion that sharing of information with fellow scientists grows knowledge.
In the year 1896, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose wrote Niruddesher Kahini. It was the first notable work in Bengali science fiction. Later, Bose included the story in the Obbakto book as 'Polatok Tufan.' The credit for being the first science fiction writer in Bengali language also goes to Jagadish Chandra Bose. Some of the books written by Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose include; Response in the Living and Non-living, Researches on Irritability of Plants, The physiology of photosynthesis, Plant Autographs and Their Revelations, Motor mechanism of plants, Plant response as a means of physiological investigation, Physiology of the Ascent of Sap, The Nervous Mechanisms of Plants, Growth and tropic movements of plants, etc.
The honours which the great Indian scientist received include Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1903, Knighthood in 1917, Member of the Vienna Academy of Sciences in 1928, Member of Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters in 1929, Founding fellow of the National Institute of Sciences of India (now renamed as the Indian National Science Academy), Companion of the Order of the Star of India in 1912, Fellow of the Royal Society in 1920, President of the 14th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1927, Member of the League of Nations' Committee for Intellectual Cooperation, etc.
(Last Updated on : 18-07-2012)
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