A Scientist who gave Life to a dumb Plant – Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose
Scientist Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose (1858 to 1937), biologist and physicist was born in 1858 in Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh). He used to read Mahabharata and Ramayana regularly; Kama was his hero —True success is born out of defeat.
Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose studied in St. Xavier School, Calcutta, later learnt physics at Calcutta University. Then he obtained B.Sc, Degree from Cambridge University. In 1885 Asst. Professor of Physics in Presidency College, Calcutta.
1894-1902 Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose studied electromagnetic waves. He designed a sensitive instrument called Crescograph to record growth of plants; it would magnify the movement 10,000 times. It was praised in the Paris Congress of Scientists held in 1900.
1895 Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose hinted a fore-runner idea of Marconi that micro-waves are waves of short wavelength; he developed an instrument ‘Coherer’ for the detection of radio waves.
In the Town Hall, Calcutta, Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose demonstrated ‘aerial’ principle; later developed into ‘antenna’.
In 1897 Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose got recognition in Britain for his work on electricity. Lord Lister, Lord Kelvin and Sir William Ramsay praised him.
Scientist Bose gave these ideas : Electronic gadgets like radar, missiles and computer are evaluated in physiological terms such as intelligence, memory, receptor, feedback, etc. Computer is a super brain.
Electrical and optical beams are amenable to reflection, refraction and polarization.
Clarke Maxwell declared that light waves are of electromagnetic nature, verified later by Hertz in 1880. Bose says, “electric waves are broken glimpses of invisible light.”
Scientist Bose believed in molecular strain. In 1899-1904 he said inorganic matter is also subject to fatigue. In this connection, we are reminded of the event of the famous Big Ben clock in London getting into metal fatigue.
In 1901 he proved by an experiment that plants have feelings like human beings, before an august gathering of scientists at the Royal Society in London. The plant died with poisoning by bromide solution when it was dipped into it.
In 1902 Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose wrote a book, Response in the Living and Non-living. Plant behaves like a drunkard when put in alcoholic solution. Plants have nerves, react to pain. The leaves and fruits denote expression of joy.
George Bernard Shaw, a vegetarian shared the agony of a piece of cabbage showing violent paroxysms when ‘being roasted’. Plant cells expand and contract to variations in temperature, following the law, ‘heat expands bodies, cold contracts them’.
Scientist Bose received D.Sc. from London University.
The greatness of Scientist Bose lies in his manipulation of experiments in a limited space, say, the area of an optical bench and with limited finances.
(Note : Sir C.V. Raman also started with an equipment worth Rs.200; discovered Raman Effect) – Humble beginnings leading to splendid results!
In 1920 FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society).
In 1926 Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose wrote a book, ‘The Nervous Mechanism of Plants.’
During his visit to America a press acclaim — “What is the tale of Alladin and his wonderful lamp compared to Dr. Bose’s Crescograph?”.
The action of fertilizers, foods, electric currents and stimulants can be detected by this instrument in 15 minutes; it records the throbbing pulsations of the telegraph plant and the ‘death-recorder’ indicating the death-throes of the plant.
Thus Scientist Bose gave life to the dumb plant.
Scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose founded Bose Institute in 1917, funded it with donations. He remained Director of the Institute till his death in 1937.
The Statesman wrote, “Jagdish was one of the first Indians whose devotion to science attracted interest in the West.”
Why not find a Jagdish Chandra Bose, Sir Issac Newton, Albert Einstein in the present day younger generation?