Famous Indian Scientists

Famous Indian Scientists

1 . Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Jagadish Chandra Bose was born on 30 November 1858, inMyemsingh, Faridpur, a part of the Dhaka District now in Bangladesh He
attended the village school till he was 11 He then moved to Kolkata where he
enrolled in St Xaviers He was very much interested in Biology However,
Father Lafont, a famous Professor of Physics, inspired in Bose a great interest
in Physics
Having obtained his BA in physical sciences, twenty two year old
Bose left for London, to obtain a medical degree However, he kept falling ill
and had to discontinue his plans to be a doctor He then obtained his BA
degree from Christ College, Cambridge
He returned to India in 1885 and joined Presidency College, Kolkata
as an Assistant Professor of Physics, where he remained till 1915 There was
a peculiar practice in the college at that time The Indian teachers in the college
were paid one third of what the British teachers were paid! So Bose refused
his salary but worked for three years The fourth year he was paid in full! He
was an excellent teacher, extensively using scientific demonstrations in class
Some of his students, such as S N Bose went on to become famous physicists
During this period, Bose also started doing original scientific work in
the area of microwaves, carrying out experiments involving refraction,
diffraction and polarization He developed the use of galena crystals for making
receivers, both for short wavelength radio waves and for white and ultraviolet
light In 1895, two years before Marconis demonstration, Bose demonstrated
wireless communication using radio waves, using them to ring a bell remotely
and to explode some gunpowder
Many of the microwave components familiar today waveguides, horn
antennas, polarizers, dielectric lenses and prisms, and even semiconductor
detectors of electromagnetic radiation were invented and used by Bose in
the last decade of the nineteenth century He also suggested the existence of
electromagnetic radiation from the Sun, which was confirmed in 1944
Bose then turned his attention to response phenomena in plants He
showed that not only animal but vegetable tissues, produce similar electric
response under different kinds of stimuli

2 . Prafulla Chandra Ray

Prafulla Chandra was born on 2 August 1861 in RaruliKatipara, a
village in the District of Khulna (in present day Bangladesh) His early
education started in his village school He often played truant and spent his
time resting comfortably on the branch of a tree, hidden under its leaves After
attending the village school, he went to Kolkata, where he studied at Hare
School and the Metropolitan College The lectures of Alexander Pedler in the
Presidency College, which he used to attend, attracted him to chemistry,
although his first love was literature He continued to take interest in literature,
and taught himself Latin and French at home After obtaining a FA diploma
from the University of Calcutta, he proceeded to the University of Edinburgh
on a Gilchrist scholarship where he obtained both his BSc and DSc degrees
In 1888, Prafulla Chandra made his journey home to India Initially
he spent a year working with his famous friend Jagadish Chandra Bose in his
laboratory In 1889, Prafulla Chandra was appointed an Assistant Professor of
Chemistry in the Presidency College, Kolkata His publications on mercurous
nitrite and its derivatives brought him recognition from all over the world
Equally important was his role as a teacher he inspired a generation of young
chemists in India thereby building up an Indian school of chemistry Famous
Indian scientists like Meghnad Saha and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar were among
his students
Prafulla Chandra believed that the progress of India could be achieved
only by industrialization He set up the first chemical factory in India, with
very minimal resources, working from his home In 1901, this pioneering effort
resulted in the formation of the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works
He retired from the Presidency College in 1916, and was appointed as
Professor of Chemistry at the University Science College In 1921 when
Prafulla Chandra reached 60 years, he donated, in advance, all his salary for
the rest of his service in the University to the development of the Department
of Chemistry and to the creation of two research fellowships The value of
this endowment was about two lakh rupees He eventually retired at the age of
75 In Prafulla Chandra Ray, the qualities of both a scientist and an industrial
entrepreneur were combined and he can be thought of as the father of the
Indian Pharmaceutical industry

3 . Srinivasa Ramanujan

Ramanujan was born in Erode, a small village in Tamil Nadu on 22
December 1887 When he was a year old his family moved to the town of
Kumbakonam, where his father worked as a clerk in a cloth merchants shop
When he was nearly five years old, Ramanujan enrolled in the primary school
In 1898 he joined the Town High School in Kumbakonam At the Town High
School, Ramanujan did well in all subjects and proved himself an able all
round scholar It was here that he came across the book Synopsis of Elementary
Results in Pure Mathematics by G S Carr Influenced by the book, he began
working on mathematics on his own, summing geometric and arithmetic series
He was given a scholarship to the Government College in Kumbakonam However his scholarship was not renewed because Ramanujan neglected all subjects other than mathematics In 1905 he appeared for the
First Arts examination which would have allowed him to be admitted to the
University of Madras Again he failed in all subjects other than mathematics,
a performance he repeated in 1906 and 1907 too In the following years he
worked on mathematics, with only Carrs book as a guide, noting his results
in what would become the famous Notebooks
He got married in 1909 and started looking for a job His search took
him to many influential people, among them Ramachandra Rao, one of the
founding members of the Indian Mathematical Society For a year he was
supported by Ramachandra Rao who gave him Rs 25 per month He started
posing and solving problems in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society
His research paper on Bernoulli numbers, in 1911, brought him recognition
and he became well known in Chennai as a mathematical genius In 1912,
with Ramachandra Raos help, he secured the post of clerk in the accounts
section of the Madras Port Trust He continued to pursue mathematics and in
1913 he wrote to G H Hardy in Cambridge, enclosing a long list of his own
theorems Hardy immediately recognized Ramanujans mathematical ability
On the basis of Hardys letters, Ramanujan was given a scholarship by the
University of Madras in 1913 In 1914, Hardy arranged for him to go to Trinity
College, Cambridge
Ramanujans work with Hardy produced important results right from
the beginning In 1916 Ramanujan graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor
of Science by Research In 1918, he was elected a Fellow of the Cambridge
Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and a Fellow
of Trinity College, Cambridge, all in the same year! However, from 1917
onwards he was seriously ill and mostly bedridden In 1919 he returned to
India, in very poor health
Ramanujan made outstanding contributions to analytical number
theory, elliptic functions, continued fractions, and infinite series His published
and unpublished works have kept some of the best mathematical brains in the
world busy to this

4 . Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil
Nadu on 7 November 1888 His father was a lecturer in mathematics and
physics so from the very beginning he was immersed in an academic
atmosphere Ramans academic brilliance was established at a very young
age He finished his secondary school education at the tender age of thirteen
and entered the Mrs AVN College at Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Two
years later he moved to the prestigious Presidency College in Chennai
When he was fifteen, he topped his class to receive his BA degree
with honours in Physics and English Raman continued his studies at the
Presidency College and when he was barely eighteen, graduated at the top of
his class and received his MA degree with honours
Raman joined the Indian Audit and Accounts Service and was appointed
the Assistant Accountant General in the Finance Department in Kolkata In
Kolkata, he sustained his interest in science by working in the laboratory of
the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, in his spare time studying
the physics of stringed instruments and Indian drums
In 1917, Raman gave up his government job to become the Sir
Taraknath Palit Professor of Physics at the Science College of University of
Calcutta (191733) He made enormous contributions to research in the areas
of vibration, sound, musical instruments, ultrasonics, diffraction,
photoelectricity, colloidal particles, Xray diffraction, magnetron, dielectrics,
etc In particular, his work on the scattering of light during this period brought
him worldwide recognition
In 1924 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and a
year later was honoured with the prestigious Hughes medal from the Royal
Society Four years later, at the joint meeting of the South Indian Science
Association and the Science Club of Central College, Bangalore, he announced
his discovery of what is now known as the Raman Effect
He was knighted in 1929, and in 1930, became the first Asian scientist
to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his discoveries relating to the
scattering of light (the Raman Effect) In 1934, he became the Director of the
newly established Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore, where he remained
till his retirement After retirement, he established the Raman Research Institute
at Bangalore, where he served as the Director The Government of India
conferred upon him its highest award,the Bharat Ratna in 1954

5 . Meghnad Saha

Meghnad Saha was born on 6 October 1893 in Sheoratali village near
Dhaka in present day Bangladesh His father Jagannath Saha was a grocer in
the village After primary education, he was admitted to a middle school that
was seven miles away from home He stayed with a doctor near the school
and had to work in that house to pay for his boarding and lodging Overcoming
all these difficulties, he stood first in the Dhaka middle school test, thus
securing a Government scholarship and joined the Dhaka Collegiate School
in 1905
Great political unrest was prevailing in Bengal, caused by the partition
of the province by the British against strong popular opinion Meghnad Saha
was among the few senior students who staged a boycott of the visit by the
then Governor, Sir Bampfylde Fuller and as a consequence forfeited his
scholarship and had to leave the institution He then joined the Kisori Lal
Jubilee School where he passed the entrance test of the University of Calcutta
standing first among students from East Bengal He graduated from Presidency
College with mathematics as his major
He then joined the newly established Science College in Kolkata as a
lecturer and pursued his research activities in physics By 1920, Meghnad
Saha had established himself as one of the leading physicists of the time His
theory of hightemperature ionization of elements and its application to stellar
atmospheres, as expressed by the Saha equation, is fundamental to modern
astrophysics; subsequent development of his ideas has led to increased
knowledge of the pressure and temperature distributions of stellar atmospheres
In 1920, Saha went to Imperial College, London and later to Germany
Two years later he returned to India and joined the University of Calcutta as
Khaira Professor He then moved to the University of Allahabad and remained
there till 1938, establishing the Science Academy in Allahabad (now known
as the National Academy of Science) In 1927, he was elected a Fellow of the
Royal Society of London
He returned to the University of Calcutta in 1938 where he introduced
nuclear physics into the postgraduate physics curriculum In 1947 he
established the Indian Institute of Nuclear Physics (now known as the Saha
Institute of Nuclear Physics) Later in his life, Saha played an active role in
the development of scientific institutions throughout India as well as in national
economic planning involving technology

6 . Satyendra Nath Bose

Satyendra Nath Bose was born on New Years day, 1894 in Goabagan
in Kolkata. His father was an accountant in Indian Railways. Satyendra Nath
popularly known as Satyen Bose, did his schooling at Hindu School, Kolkata,
and then joined Presidency College. He excelled in academics throughout his
education ? Intermediate, B.Sc. and M.Sc. with applied mathematics. His
teacher at the Presidency College was Jagadish Chandra Bose – whose other
stellar pupil was Meghnad Saha. Bose took his B.Sc. examination in 1913 and
his M.Sc examination in 1915. He stood first in both the examinations, the
second place going to Meghnad Saha.
He worked as a lecturer of physics in the Science College of the
University of Calcutta (1916-21) and along with Meghnad Saha, introduced
postgraduate courses in modern mathematics and physics. He derived with
Saha, the Saha-Bose equation of state for a nonideal gas.
In 1921, Bose left Kolkata to become a Reader at the Dakha University.
It was during this period that he wrote the famous paper on the statistics of
photons. It was named Bose statistics after him and is now an integral part of
physics. Paul Dirac, the legendary physicist, coined the term boson for particles
obeying these statistics. Apart from this he did theoretical work on the general
theory of relativity and also experimental work on crystallography,
fluorescence, and thermoluminescence.
Bose spent about 10 months in Paris in 1924, doing research with
Madame Curie and Louis de Broglie. Later he went to Berlin where he met
Einstein. He returned to Dhaka in 1926 and became Professor. Shortly before
Independence, Bose returned to Kolkata to become the Khaira Professor of
Physics, a post he kept till 1956. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society
in 1958, and the Government of India named him a National Professor and
awarded him the honor of Padma Vibhushan.

7 . Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar

Bhatnagar was born on 21 February 1894 at Bhera, in the district of
Shapur in Punjab (now in Pakistan) When he was barely eight months old,
his father passed away He spent his next thirteen years under the care of his
maternal grandfather in Bulandshahar in Uttar Pradesh Under the influence
of his grandfather, young Bhatnagar not only developed a taste for engineering
and science but also became interested at a very early age in geometry and
algebra and in making mechanical toys In 1911, Shanti published a letter to
the editor, in The Leader, Allahabad, on how to make a substitute for carbon
electrodes in a battery using molasses and carbonaceous matter under pressure
and heat
Matriculating the same year, he joined the Dayal Singh College,
Lahore After finishing his intermediate examination in first division, Shanti
joined the Forman Christian College and after his BSc and MSc degrees, he
spent the next two years at the University of London earning his DSc degree
on the surface tension of oils, under the supervision of Professor FG Donnan
Returning to India in 1921, he joined the Benares Hindu University as
a Professor, remaining there till 1924 From 1924 to 1940 he served as the
Director of the University Chemical Laboratories, Lahore, addressing problems
in industrial and applied chemistry
In August 1940, Bhatnagar took over as the Director of the newly
created Directorate of Scientific and Industrial Research This organisation
became the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, with Bhatnagar as
its Director Bhatnagars tenure saw the setting up of 12 laboratories and the
total number of CSIR laboratories today stands at 40
The British Government conferred on him the Order of the British
Empire and in 1941, he was made the Knight Bachelor In 1943 he was elected
a Fellow of the Royal Society and received the Padma Vibhushan (1954) from
the Government of India
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar played a significant part along with Homi
Bhabha, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, Vikram Sarabhai and others in
building of postindependence Science & Technology infrastructure and in
the formulation of Indias science policies

8 . Homi Jehangir Bhabha

Homi Bhabha was born on 30 October 1909 in Mumbai Son of a
barrister, he grew up in a privileged environment In Mumbai he attended the
Cathedral & John Connon School and then Elphinstone College, followed by
the Royal Institute of Science After passing the Senior Cambridge Examination
at the age of sixteen, he joined the Gonvile and Caius College in Cambridge
with an intention to pursue mechanical engineering His mathematics tutor
was Paul Dirac, and Bhabha became fascinated with mathematics and
theoretical physics He earned his engineering degree in 1930 and PhD in
In 1937, together with W Heitler, a German physicist, Bhabha solved
the riddle about cosmic rays Cosmic rays are fast moving, extremely small
particles coming from outer space When these particles enter the earths
atmosphere, they collide with the atoms of air and create a shower of electrons
Bhabhas discovery of the presence of nuclear particles (which he called
mesons) in these showers was used to validate Einsteins theory of relativity
making him world famous
When the war broke out in Europe, Bhabha was on a holiday in India
In 1940, CV Raman, then head of the Physics Department, Indian Institute
of Science, Bangalore, persuaded Bhabha to join the institute as a Reader in
Physics and Bhabha decided to stay back in India In 1941, Homi Bhabha was
elected Fellow of the Royal Society, London, in recognition of his contributions
to the field of cosmic rays, elementary particles and quantum mechanics
Bhabha soon realized the need for an institute fully devoted to
fundamental research, and wrote to JRD Tata for funding This resulted in
the establishment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in
Mumbai in 1945, with Bhabha as the Director, a position he held until his
death In 1948, Homi Bhabha was appointed the Chairman of the International
Atomic Energy Commission Under his guidance, nuclear reactors like the
Apsara, Cirus and Zerlina were built He gained international recognition for
his excellent work and served as the President of the first United Nations
Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, which was held in Geneva
in 1955 He was the President of the International Union of Pure and Applied
Physics from 1960 to 1963
A multifaceted personality, Bhabha was immensely fond of music,
painting and writing Some of his paintings are displayed in the British Art
Galleries and the TIFR art collection today is rated as one of the best collections
of contemporary Indian art in the country
He is the recipient of the Adams Award, Padma Bhushan, an Honorary
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Foreign Associate
of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States

9 . Subramaniam Chandrasekhar

Subramaniam Chandrasekhar, a nephew of Sir CV Raman, was born
on 19 October 1910 in Lahore, (now in Pakistan) His father was an officer in
the Department of Audits and Accounts of the Indian Government Services
Chandrasekhar received his elementary education from his parents and private
tutors when he was in Lahore In 1918 Chandra moved to Chennai where he
attended the Hindu High School finishing his secondary school education with
honours He then joined the Presidency College, there taking his Bachelor of
Science degree in physics with honours
His first scientific paper, Compton Scattering and the New Statistics,
was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 1928 On the basis
of this paper he was accepted as a research student by RH Fowler at the
University of Cambridge On the voyage to England, he developed the theory
of white dwarf stars, showing that a star of mass greater than 145 times the
mass of the sun could not become a white dwarf This limit is now known as
the Chandrasekhar limit
He obtained his doctorate in 1933 Soon after receiving his doctorate,
Chandrasekhar was awarded the Prize Fellowship at Trinity College,
Cambridge In 1937, he accepted the position of Research Associate at the
University of Chicago Chandrasekhar stayed at University of Chicago
throughout his career, becoming the Morton D Hall Distinguished Service
Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1952 In 1952 he established the
Astrophysical Journal and was its editor for 19 years, transforming it from a
local publication of the University of Chicago into the national journal of the
American Astronomical Society He became a US citizen in 1958
He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London and in 1962
received the Societys Royal Medal He also received the US National Medal
of Science (1966) He was awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 1983 for
his theoretical work on the physical processes of importance to the structure
of stars and their evolution Chandra was a popular teacher who guided over
fifty students to their PhDs including some who went on to win the Nobel
prize themselves!! His research explored nearly all branches of theoretical
astrophysics and he published ten books, each covering a different topic,
including one on the relationship between art and science

10 . Vikram Sarabhai

Vikram Sarabhai was born on 12 August 1919 at Ahmedabad He had
his early education in a private school,Retreat run by his parents on
Montessori lines This atmosphere injected into the young boy the seeds of
scientific curiosity, ingenuity and creativity With a natural inclination towards
physics and mathematics, Vikram Sarabhai did not get into his family business
After school and college in Gujarat, he went to England and obtained his
tripos at St Johns College in 1939 He returned to India for a while and
worked alongside Sir CV Raman in the field of cosmic rays, at the Indian
Institute of Science in Bangalore, after which he returned to Cambridge,
England for further research in the area and completed his PhD in 1947
He established the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad in
1948, in a few rooms at the MG Science Institute with Professor KK
Ramanathan as Director In April 1954, PRL moved into a new building and
Dr Sarabhai made it the cradle of the Indian Space Programme At the young
age of 28, he was asked to organise and create the ATIRA, the Ahmedabad
Textile Industrys Research Association and was its Honorary Director during
194956 He also helped build and direct the Indian Institute of Management,
Ahmedabad from 19621965
Sarabhai pioneered Indias space age by expanding the Indian Space
Research Organization Indias first satellite Aryabhata launched in 1975, was
one of the many projects planned by him Like Bhabha, Sarabhai wanted the
practical application of science to reach the common man Thus he saw a
golden opportunity to harness space science to the development of the country
in the fields of communication, meteorology, remote sensing and education
The Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) launched in 1975
76, brought education to five million people in 2,400 Indian villages In 1965,
he established the Community Science Centre in Ahmedabad with a view to
popularise science among children His deep cultural interests led him, along
with his wife Mrinalini Sarabhai, to establish Darpana Academy, an institution
devoted to performing arts and propagation of ancient culture of India
He was the recipient of the Bhatnagar Memorial Award for Physics in
1962, the Padma Bhushan in 1966, and was posthumously awarded the Padma
Vibhushan He was the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1966,
VicePresident and Chairman of the UN Conference on peaceful uses of outer
space in 1968, and President of the 14th General Conference of the International
Atomic Energy Agency The International Astronomical Union named a crater
in the moon (in the Sea of Serenity) after him, in honour of his contributions
to science