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Jagadish Chandra Bose: Biography, Inventions & Contributions Video

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  • 0:04 Who Was Jagadish Chandra Bose?
  • 1:23 Early Life & Education
  • 2:13 Contributions to Science
  • 3:18 Work as a Fiction Writer
  • 3:41 Legacy
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Betsy Chesnutt

Betsy teaches college physics, biology, and engineering and has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

Jagadish Chandra Bose was one of the most prolific and successful Indian scientists of all time. In this lesson, learn about his contributions to the fields of radio science and biophysics.

Who Was Jagadish Chandra Bose?

On May 10, 1901, scientists from all over the world were gathered at the Royal Society in London. They were all anxiously awaiting the results of an experiment that would potentially change our understanding of plants forever. On this momentous day, an Indian scientist named Jagadish Chandra Bose was poised to discover whether or not plants could feel and respond to stimuli in the same way that humans and other animals do. To determine this, Bose had built a new instrument that he called a crescograph to detect very tiny motions within plant tissues.

As the other scientists watched, Bose demonstrated that the plant responded by moving when part of it was placed in a poisonous solution. This was the first evidence that plants could respond to external stimuli just like other living things. Bose would go on to demonstrate that plants were able to respond to a variety of stimuli, including light, fertilizer, and various poisons and toxins.

Although Jagadish Chandra Bose was obviously an important scientist in the field of biophysics, he did a lot more than just study plants. In his lifetime, he made major contributions not only to the study of plants, but also to radio science, physics, and archaeology. He was also an accomplished writer and is considered one of the pioneers of Bengali science fiction.

Early Life & Education

Bose was born in 1858 in Munshiganj in modern-day Bangladesh, although, at the time of his birth, this area was part of British India. As a child, his father wanted to make sure that he learned his native language and culture before learning English, so he sent the young Jagadish to a local Bengali school. Later, Bose would recall that hearing stories about the natural world as a child at school sparked his interest in studying the inner workings of nature. This interest in plants and nature would eventually lead to his most famous discovery.

Even though his family was not wealthy, Bose's father was determined that he get a good education. After graduating from the University of Calcutta, he moved to England to further his education. He first attended Cambridge University, and then the University of London, earning a degree in natural science in 1884.

Contributions to Science

After completing his degree, Bose returned to India and took a position as a professor of physics at Presidency College in Calcutta. Although he taught classes at the college, there were no adequate research laboratories there, so he was forced to fund his own research and perform experiments in his home. In addition, because he was Indian, his salary was much less than that of the other, primarily British, professors. When he discovered this, he refused to take any more money and worked for free for three years.

Although this made for a difficult few years for Bose, things would get better. Eventually, the college decided to pay him the full salary for the three years he had worked for free and to continue paying him at the same rate as the other professors.

Despite the difficulties he faced, Bose persevered and continued working. During the early years of his career, his research focused primarily on improving radio technology, specifically on the transmission of wireless signals using microwaves.

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