Science is an inevitable part of life. India as a developing country has a vast history of science and technology. From Kautilya’s Arthashastra to Aryabhata’s concept of numbers, the Vedic slokas have mentioned many such references to the great Indian scientists.
So, TM has enlisted 10 such outstanding scientists and their contributions to science and technology and also in the development of the nation:
Jagadish Chandra Bose: Bose is considered as the first Indian modern scientist, a recognition received from the Royal Institution, London. He was born in Bikrampur, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Munshiganj District, Bangladesh) on 30 November 1858.
Being a renowned polymath, he proved that plants too have emotions, and can feel pain and love as humans do. Bose invented the crescograph (used for measuring the growth in plants) and the first wireless detection device too.
He bags the credit of being the founder in the field of microwave optics technology. Bose was also a prominent writer and is regarded as the one who introduced Bengali science fictions.
JC Bose was made Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (1903), Companion of the Order of the Star of India (1912) and was the Knight Bachelor (1917).
M Visvesvaraya: 15th September every year is celebrated as Engineers Day remembering India’s greatest engineer, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. He was born on 15 September 1861, in Muddenahalli near Chikkaballapur.
He also served as Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918. Apart from being a renowned scholar, he has contributed his immense knowledge to control water resources. Visvesvaraya bags credit for the invention of automatic sluice gates and block irrigation system.
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1955 and the British knighthood.
Srinivasa Ramanujan: Ramanujan was a man of many talents. He was born in 22 December 1887 in Erode, Tamil Nadu.
Ramanujan is recognized as one of the greatest Indian mathematicians with no formal training. Instead, he was a college dropout due to low economic conditions.
He was the second and youngest Indian to join a Fellowship of the Royal Society. His outstanding contribution to the world of mathematics includes mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. However, his most celebrated findings are said to be the infinite series of pi.
Tamil Nadu, the birthplace of this mathematician celebrates his birthday as State IT Day every year.
C V Raman: Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born at Tiruchirappalli in the Southern part of India on 7 November 1888.
His outstanding inventions includes the ‘Raman effect’, where he proved that light can travel a transparent material, while some light deflects changing the wavelength. Raman is regarded the first person to investigate the harmonic nature of sounds as he immensely worked on the acoustics of musical instruments.
His contribution to the area of science was outstanding for which he was the first Asian to win the Noble Prize for Physics in 1930. Then in 1954, he was honored with Bharat Ratna too.
Janaki Ammal: Janaki Ammal Edavalath Kakkat was born in Tellichery (now Thallassery) in Kerala on 4 November 1897.
She was a botanist and cytogeneticist, who chose career over marriage at the era when women barely could stand on their own. To work on sugarcane biology, she joined the Sugarcane Breeding Station at Coimbatore. Janaki Ammal also became the Director General of the Botanical Survey of India.
Apart from sugarcane, she has worked on a variety of eggplant. Janaki Ammal in England created a rare variety of magnolias, which are now named after her as Magnolia Kobus Janaki Ammal.
She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1957. Remembering the great soul, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry created the National Award of Taxonomy in 2000.
Homi J Bhabha: Born on 30 October 1909 in Bombay, Homi Jehangir Bhabha was the father of the Indian nuclear research program.
Being a nuclear physicist, he played an important role in the Quantum Theory. He also becomes the first Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India.
He was the founding director of the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) which is now named after him as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
For his invaluable contributions to science and engineering, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1954.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar: The foremost astrophysicist of the twentieth century, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born in 19 October 1910 in Lahore (which at the time was a part of British India).
He was the scientist behind pairing the study of astronomy with the study of physics. He also discovered the ‘Chandrasekhar limit’ where he proved the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star.
Chandrasekhar was awarded the Padma Vibhusan (1968), Nobel Prize in Physics (1983), National Medal of Science (1966), and many more.
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai: Born to a very affluent family in Ahmedabad on 12 August 1919, Vikram Sarabhai is remembered as the Father of the Indian Space Program. This was regarded as the greatest achievement of Dr. Sarabhai.
At the age of 28, he successfully established the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. He was also an integral part in the process of setting up of the world’s largest government space agency, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).
Dr. Sarabhai even started a project to model and launch an Indian satellite, which caused the launch of Aryabhata in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.
For his outstanding contribution to the field of science, the Government of India conferred the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Medal in 1962, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972.
Har Gobind Khorana: The Indian-American biochemist born on 9 January 1922 at Raipur village in West Punjab (now in Pakistan).
He was the first to synthesize an artificial gene in a living cell. His contribution in unlocking the secret of DNA later paved the way for better research in the area of biotechnology and gene therapy.
In 1968 Khorana shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine with Marshall W Nirenberg and Robert W Holley. He was also awarded the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, Membership of the National Academy of Sciences, the USA as well as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
APJ Abdul Kalam: The ‘Missile Man’ of India was born on 15 October 1931 into a Muslim family in Rameswaram, as Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. Served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, Dr. Kalam was Indias most distinguished scientist.
In his earlier life, Dr. Kalam worked as an Aerospace engineer with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). During these days in ISRO in the 1980s, Dr. Kalam, who was then Project director launched India’s first indigenous SLV-III (Satellite Launch Vehicle) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near earth’s orbit.
He also played a pivotal role at the time of Pokhran-II nuclear tests during 1998 for which he was called a national hero as well.
Dr. Kalam has been awarded the coveted civilian awards like Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). He also received several other awards and Fellow from many professional institutions.