History of JC Bose
Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose
In the 19th century, when people considered plants as non living ‘thing’, it was
all because of Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose that we
came to know that plants too have feelings. Biography of
Jagdish Chandra Bose is very interesting. Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose was
an eminent Indian scientist. He was the first to prove that plants too have life.
He also invented wireless telegraphy a year before Marconi patented his invention.
Jagdish Chandra Bose was born on November 30, 1858 in Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh).
His father Bhagabanchandra Bose was a Deputy Magistrate of Faridpur and also a respected
leader of Brahmo Samaj. Jagdish Chandra Bose had his early education in Bengali,
from village school. In 1869, Jagdish Chandra Bose was sent to Calcutta to learn
English and was educated at St. Xavier's School and College. He received his bachelor’s
degree in 1879. He then went to England to study medicine at London University,
but gave it up because of his own ill health. He then studied Natural Science at
Christchurch College, Cambridge and returned with a B.Sc. degree and Natural Science
Tripos (a special course of study at Cambridge) in 1885.
Upon his return, he was offered lecturership at Presidency College. As a teacher,
Jagdish Chandra Bose was very popular and triggered the interest of his students
by making extensive use of scientific demonstrations. In 1894, he decided to devote
himself to pure research. He converted a small enclosure adjoining a bathroom in
the Presidency College into a laboratory. He carried out experiments involving refraction,
diffraction and polarization. It would not be wrong to call him as the inventor
of wireless telegraphy. He also did his original scientific work in Microwaves.
According to history of He was able to generate extremely short waves and achieved
considerable improvement in Hertz’s detector of electric waves. J. C. Bose designed
a compact apparatus for generating electromagnetic waves and studying their quasi-optical
properties such as refraction, polarization and double refraction.
In 1895, a year before Marconi patented this invention; Jagdish
Chandra Bose had publicly demonstrated electromagnetic waves, using them
to ring a bell remotely and to explode some gunpowder. He later switched from physics
to the study of metals and then plants. He fabricated a highly sensitive ‘coherer’,
a device that detects radio waves. He found that the sensitivity of the coherer
decreased when it was used continuously for a long period and it regained its sensitivity
when he gave the device some rest. Finding that a universal reaction brought together
metals, plants and animals under a common law, he next proceeded to study of modifications
in response, which occur under various conditions. He found that they are all (metals
and living tissues) benumbed by cold, intoxicated by alcohol, wearied by excessive
work, stupefied by anaesthetics, excited by electric currents, stung by physical
blows and killed by poison - they all exhibit essentially the same phenomena of
fatigue and depression, together with possibilities of recovery and of exaltation,
yet also that of permanent irresponsiveness which is associated with death. They
all are responsive or irresponsive under the same conditions and in the same manner.
The investigations showed that, in the entire range of response phenomena (inclusive
as that is of metals, plants and animals) there is no breach of continuity; that
‘the living response in all its diverse modifications is only a repetition of responses
seen in the inorganic’ and that the phenomena of response ‘are determined, not by
the play of an unknowable and arbitrary vital force, but by the working of laws
that know no change, acting equally and uniformly throughout the organic and inorganic
matter.’ (‘Response in the living and non living’, a book by Sir J. C. Bose)
Bose's research on response in living and non-living led to some significant findings.
He showed that not only animals but vegetable tissues under different kinds of stimuli-mechanical,
application of heat, electric shock, chemicals, drugs - produce similar electric
responses. He also invented an instrument to record the pulse of plants to show
experimentally that plants too have life.
As stated in Biography of Jagdish Chandra Bose
he did invaluable work in science, his work was recognized in the country only when
the Western world acknowledged its importance. He founded the Bose Institute at
Calcutta, devoted mainly to the study of plants. Today, the Institute carries research
in other fields too. Bose is highly regarded in the scientific community of the
world not merely for his contributions, but also for the changes they brought to
India and the western attitude towards Indian science.