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Jagadish Chandra BoseJagadish Chandra Bose

radio wave pioneer

Jagadish Chandra Bose was born into a well-to-do family in Mymensingh, India (now in Bangladesh), on November 30, 1858. He received his early education from the local schools, and began attending St. Xavier's College at Calcutta University in 1875; he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from that institution in 1877. In 1880, Bose left India to study medicine at London University, but gave up that study after a year due to ill health. He then took a scholarship to study Natural Science at Christ's College, Cambridge, and received his Bachelor of Arts from there in 1884; that same year, he also received a Bachelor of Science degree from London University. In 1885, he became a Professor of Physical Science at Presidency College of Calcutta, where he remained for the next thirty years.

In 1894, Bose converted a small room at the college into a laboratory, where he began carrying out a variety of experiments involving the refraction, diffraction, and polarization of light. During the course of his research he developed the use of galena crystals for making receivers for use in detecting short wavelength radio waves as well as white and ultraviolet light. In 1895, Bose gave a public demonstration of electromagnetic waves, using them to ring a bell remotely and to explode some gunpowder. In 1904, he became the first Indian to receive a U.S. patent, for his electromagnetic radiation detector. The work Bose did in the field of electromagnetic radiation would eventually culminate in the development of semiconductors, and Bose is now considered one of the pioneering researchers in this field.

Between 1894 and 1900, Bose researched radio waves, and succeeded in creating waves as short as 5 mm. He also developed equipment for generating, transmitting, and receiving radio waves, giving successful demonstrations several years before Guglielmo Marconi received patents for his work. Bose went on to use his equipment to demonstrate the properties of what we now call microwaves, and was the first to use a semiconductor juntion to detect radio waves. Many of the microwave components he invented are still used in today's appliances.

After 1900, Bose turned his attention to the study of animal and plant physiology. He studied the effects of electromagnetic radiation on plants, and demonstrated that plants respond to various stimuli as if they have central nervous systems comparable to those of animals. During the course of this research he devised many delicate and sensitive instruments, including one which could actually record plant growth and magnify a small movement as much as a million times.

Bose retired in 1915 and was subsequently appointed Emeritus Professor, Presidency College, for a period of five years. In 1917, he founded the Bose Research Institute in Calcutta, the first scientific research institute on the Indian Subcontinent. He was knighted in 1917, and, in 1920, became the first Indian scientist to be elected to the prestigious Royal Society.

Jagadish Chandra Bose died in Giridih, on November 23, 1937.

Bose was the author of two published works: Response in the Living and Non-Living (1902) and Plant Responses (1906).

Bose Institute

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This page was last updated on 09/16/2015.

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