In today’s day and age, all hell breaks loose in the household or office if our WiFi is down even for a few minutes. WiFi can give dogs a run for their money for the spot as man’s best friend. Today, I am going to tell you about the Indian genius, who we should be thanking for contributing to the development of several sophisticated wireless technologies, which later made the invention of technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth possible. But his contribution to physics is just the tip of the iceberg — he also achieved a lot in the field of botany, biology and writing science fiction. Jagadish Chandra Bose was a true Renaissance man.
In the quaint town of Munshiganj, British India (now in Bangladesh) the prodigious mind was born on November 30, 1858, into a Bengali Kayastha family. Bose's early education set the stage for a lifetime of intellectual curiosity. His father's insistence on vernacular language education ignited a passion for nature, fostering a deep connection that would later define his scientific pursuits. Despite initial dreams of a medical career thwarted by health issues, Bose's journey eventually led him to the hallowed halls of the University of Cambridge to conduct research with Nobel Laureate Lord Rayleigh.
Bose's return to India marked the commencement of an illustrious career at Presidency College, Kolkata as a professor of physics. Faced with racial discrimination and scant resources, Bose's tenacity shone as he juggled teaching duties while pursuing groundbreaking research. It was here that he embarked on a journey that would reshape the scientific landscape.
In the late 19th century, Bose delved into the uncharted realms of radio microwave optics. His experiments with semiconductor junctions not only detected radio waves but birthed a new era in communication technology. Bose's use of semiconductor junctions to detect radio waves foreshadowed future developments in solid-state electronics. Unfazed by naysayers, Bose's microwave apparatus in Kolkata became a crucible for innovation, laying the groundwork for the wireless world we now take for granted.
Beyond the realms of physics, Bose's fascination with the living world led to pioneering studies in plant physiology. Armed with his invention, the crescograph, he unraveled the secrets of plant responses to stimuli. The parallels he drew between animal and plant tissues shattered preconceptions, showcasing nature's interconnected symphony. In layman’s terms, he is the mind responsible for showing the world that plants also have “feelings”.
In 1917, Bose erected the Bose Institute in Kolkata, a temple where scientific truths could be realized. A hub of interdisciplinary research, it still stands as a testament to Bose's visionary approach and commitment to advancing knowledge. Sir Nevill Mott, Nobel Laureate in 1977, acknowledged Bose's foresight, proclaiming him to be "at least 60 years ahead of his time." 1917 was also the year he was knighted and in 1920, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1920, becoming the first Indian to become a fellow of science.
Bose's contributions weren't just confined to laboratories but willed the pen with equal might. In 1896, he penned Niruddesher Kahini (The Story of the Missing One), a short story that heralded the dawn of Bengali science fiction. Bose's foray into science fiction showcased not only his scientific acumen but also his ability to weave tales that transcended the boundaries of time and imagination.
In 1937, at the age of 78 years, the polymath passed beyond the veil. His waves of innovation ripple through time, resonating in the wireless signals, blades of leaves and pages of books that connect our modern scientific, natural and literary world. As we celebrate his life, let's remember the man who dared to question, innovate, and illuminate the path for generations to come.