Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Published:  04:57 AM, 07 March 2020

The first biophysicist proved plants have life

The first biophysicist proved plants have life

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose popularly called as J.C. Bose was an Indian physicist, biologist, botanist, archaeologist, and also author science fictions. He laid the foundations of experimental science in the Indian subcontinent. IEEE named him one of the fathers of radio science. Bose is considered the father of Bengali science fiction, and also invented the crescograph, a device for measuring the growth of plants.

A crater on the moon has been named in his honor. Bose was born in Mymensingh on 30 November 1858. His father Bhagawan Chandra Bose was a Deputy Collector. The Bose family had their original home in the village of Rarikhal in Bikrampur in the district of Dhaka.

Jagadish Chandra had his early education in a rural school in Faridpur in the course of which he developed an interest in the folk plays of Bengal and in the stories and characters of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

At the age of eleven he went to Calcutta where he studied at St Xavier's School and College, passed the Entrance examination of Calcutta University in 1875 and BA in Science group in 1879. Here, under the influence of Rev Father Lafont, he developed an interest in the physical sciences.  

Later he was sent to England for higher studies. At the beginning he was enrolled for study in medicine which he had to give up for reasons of health. Later he joined Christ College, Cambridge, to prepare for the Natural Sciences Tripos examination and obtained the BA degree of the Cambridge University and the BSc degree of the London University in 1884.

Upon his return to India, JC Bose was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at the presidency college, Calcutta, where he began his career as a teacher and researcher.

In 1894 Jagadish Chandra started his research career and devised a series of experiments to demonstrate the optical behavior of electrical waves such as reflection, refraction, total reflection, polarization diffraction, and so on. In his methods of microwave generation he anticipated the modern wave-guides, while some of his other applications closely resembled those employed during the early phase of the development of radar.

JC Bose retired from Presidency College in 1915. In 1917, he founded the Bose Institute for plant physiological researches. Later on, researches in plant and agricultural chemistry, physics and anthropology were taken up by the institute.

Jagadish Chandra visited Europe and USA on several scientific missions in the course of which he lectured before learned bodies on the results of his investigations and worked for some time (1900-1902) at the famous Royal Institution of London.

He was Knighted in 1916. In 1920, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of London and in 1928 to the corresponding membership of the Vienna Academy of Science. He was honorary member of several scientific societies of Europe and America.

Bose was the President of the 1927 session of the Indian Science Congress Association and was a member of the League of Nations' Committee for Intellectual Cooperation. He was a foundation Fellow of the National Institute of Sciences of India, now renamed as the Indian National Science Academy.

Unlike his great contemporary Prafulla Chandra Ray, he did not show much interest in the social and economic implications of sciences, in the powers of science to ameliorate the condition of man and society.

He was deeply philosophical and had a taste for literature and art, of which he has left ample evidence in his writings, particularly in his Bangla book Avyakta, and in the planning and artistic decoration of the Bose Institution. Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose died on 23 November 1937.

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