Showing posts with label Biography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biography. Show all posts

Maxwell, Great Physicist Who Died Too Soon

james clerk maxwell biography, facts

James Clerk Maxwell was a renowned Scottish mathematician who built upon the works of English scientist Michael Faraday and revolutionized physics in whatever little time he spent on Earth.

His most important contribution was the unification of electricity, magnetism and optics into one coherent body of knowledge. Maxwell's research paved the way for technologies like radio, television, mobile phones and infrared telescopes.

Einstein said of Maxwell: The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell's Equations of the electromagnetic field. Planck added: He achieved greatness unequalled.

Early genius

When Maxwell was 13 years old, he won the Mathematics Medal and the first prize in both English and poetry. Following is one of his short poems:

The world may be utterly crazy
And life may be labour in vain;
But I'd rather be silly than lazy,
And would not quit life for its pain.

He published his first scientific paper at 14. The paper was written on a series of oval curves that could be traced with pins and threads, showing his love for geometry.


When he was 24, Maxwell used to set up examination papers for Trinity College. A year later, he became a professor of natural philosophy at Aberdeen University aged 25. Maxwell was at least 15 years younger than his colleagues.

There he studied the nature of Saturn’s rings for almost two years and compiled his observations in a detailed essay, titled: The Stability of Saturn’s Rings.

When Voyager spacecrafts went to space in the 1980s, they confirmed many of the conclusions that Maxwell had made over a century before.


Maxwell joined King's College, London in 1860. Here he forayed into works published by Faraday and also met him on several occasions. Michael Faraday, who was 40 years older than Maxwell, became an admirer.

Maxwell examined the behavior of electric and magnetic fields in his 1861 paper: 'On physical lines of force'. In 1862, while giving a lecture, he calculated that the speed of propagation of an electromagnetic field is same as the speed of light.

Thus, he went on to conclude that light is itself an electromagnetic disturbance which propagates through the space according to electromagnetic laws.

Last years

Maxwell resigned in 1865 and returned to his home in Scotland. He also frequented to Cambridge where he was supervising the construction of Cavendish Laboratory.

In 1871, aged 40, he was elected the first Cavendish Professor of Physics. Here he wrote three popular books called Theory of HeatMatter and Motion and A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.
His famous twenty equations, which in their modern form are four partial differential equations, known as Maxwell's equations, first appeared in 1873.

In 1879, Maxwell reported difficulty in swallowing food. It was found that he had abdominal cancer, to which he succumbed the same year, at the age of 48.


In 1884, five years after Maxwell's death, Heinrich Hertz, a German physicist successfully produced electromagnetic waves in a laboratory as predicted by Maxwell.

Physicists say that Maxwell achieved for light what Newton had achieved for gravity: Unification. It took Maxwell's genius to collect the laws from the scattered pile of experimental evidence then at hand.

American physicist Richard Feynman wrote: Maxwell's equations didn't just change the world. They opened up a new one. Feynman labeled it the 'most significant discovery' of the 19th century.

Today, world's largest single-dish telescope that operates in submillimeter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum is called James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in his honor.

Engineer Who Won The Nobel Prize Twice In Physics

john bardeen twice nobel prize winner physics superconductivity transistor

Winning the Nobel Prize once is no easy feat let alone winning it twice! The first ever person to do win the Nobel Prize twice was celebrated chemist and physicist Marie Curie as many of you might already know.

Similarly, John Bardeen has won the prestigious prize for physics not once but twice! If you ever watched The Big Bang Theory, a show in which engineering as a field is consistently made fun of, it might come off as surprising that Bardeen was an engineer by education and profession.

John Bardeen (1908-1991) completed his bachelor and master degrees in electrical engineering in 1928 and 1929 respectively. He was then employed by Gulf Oil Corporation where he worked for four years.

However, his love for physics was intact and urged him to go back to school. Therefore, he enrolled at Princeton University to study physics and mathematics in 1933.

There he wrote a thesis on solid-state physics under the guidance of Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner. After graduating in 1935, he was chosen as Junior Fellow at Harvard University, a position he held for three years.

In 1939, the second world war broke out and John could no longer facilitate his individual research interests. The big break came after the war in October 1945 when he started working at Bell Labs.

Along with colleagues William Shockley and Walter Brattain, John invented the first transistor in 1947. Their relationship, however, soured when Shockley tried to take most of the credit for the invention.

first transistor invented by john bardeen physics
Replica of the first transistor

Shockley prevented both Bardeen and Brattain from working any further on the transistor technologies. So, John left Bell Labs in 1951 and accepted an offer from the University of Illinois to study superconductivity.

In 1956, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Shockley and Brattain for their work on the transistor. Today, as you might know, most of computing technologies are unimaginable without the transistor.

When Bardeen brought only one of his three children to the prize distribution ceremony, the King of Sweden ridiculed him, to which Bardeen candidly replied: "Next time I will bring them all to Sweden."

In 1957, John wrote a theory of superconductivity along with Leon Cooper and John Schrieffer. It ushered a new era of transportation and medical technologies such as MagLev and MRI respectively.

15 years later, John kept the promise he made to the King of Sweden when he took his three children to the Nobel Prize distribution ceremony in 1972.

John stayed as a professor of engineering at University of Illinois until 1975. In 1983, Sony corporation, which owed much of its commercial success to inventions by John, created an honorary John Bardeen professorship at the university.

It's similar to the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, a chair founded in 1663 and held by icons like Newton, Dirac and Hawking.

In a 1988 interview, when Bardeen was asked to comment on religion, he said: "I am not a religious person and so do not think about it very much." John was a very humble scientist who donated much of his Nobel Prize money. He enjoyed hosting cookouts for neighbours who were unaware of his scientific achievements.

If you make a list of people – politicians, scientists, sportspersons, etc – who have had the greatest impact on the 20th century, John's name would certainly make it to the top ten. Because, without his work, none of the modern technologies would be possible.

Who was Joseph Fourier?

joseph fourier series transform physics maths

Joseph Fourier is a renowned name in the scientific world credit to Fourier series and Fourier transform. His work is useful to various problems in physics including (but not limited to) heat transfer and vibrations.

Apart from his scientific ventures, Fourier was also involved in French politics. He played a significant part in the French Revolution at his district and came to the notice of a young French revolutionary Napoleon Bonaparte.

Joseph Fourier was born on March 21, 1768 in Auxerre, France to a very poor family. He was orphaned at the age of nine. Fourier could not afford formal schooling as a result, however, he did receive an extensive training by the Church.

His exceptional mathematical prowess was recognized by those around. Fourier was appointed scientific advisor to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 at the age of 30. He was promoted by Napoleon to the post of governor in Southeastern France.

It was there, in his free time, that Fourier conducted experiments on heat transfer. In 1807, he submitted a paper on the same to Paris Institute and invented two important mathematical tools while doing so.

The first contribution is called Fourier series in his honor. The tool to make other functions by adding infinite sine (and/or cosine) waves. It was indeed a groundbreaking breakthrough at the time.

The second contribution was dimensional analysis i.e. an equation can be correct only if the dimensions match on both sides of the equality. This finds use in physics.

In the 1820s, Fourier made another contribution to math: finding real roots of polynomials. But, his major work in this decade was the discovery of and experiments on the greenhouse effect.

In 1827, Fourier published an article in which he claimed that the Earth's atmosphere might act as an insulator. This was his last major work as he died in 1830 aged 62.

Five Interesting Facts About George Gamow

george gamow biography physics cosmology

George Gamow (1904–1968) was an all-rounder in true sense of the word. He made contributions to many branches of physics as well as to the field of biology. Gamow was also quite funny and a well-known prankster as we shall see.

College life

Gamow studied under renowned Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann at the University of Leningrad. He made friends with Lev Landau and Matvei Bronstein and the trio came to be referred as the Three Musketeers.

After graduating, he started doing research into the atomic nucleus, which became the basis for his doctorate. From 1928 to 1931 he worked under Ernest Rutherford. In 1932, he built a draft for the first cyclotron in Europe which was completed in 1937.

Important contributions

In 1928, Gamow proposed an explanation for alpha decay of a nucleus by using quantum mechanical principles. He helped build the first cyclotron in Europe, an early version of the particle accelerator, which helped in further studies on radioactivity.

In 1940s, Gamow shifted his attention on cosmology. During this time, he worked with Lemaitre on the Big Bang theory. It was his idea that the early universe was dominated by radiation rather than by matter. He wrote in a paper the presence of background radiation (remnants of the big bang which were later discovered in 1965).

Gamow worked with Francis Crick and James Watson to understand the structures of DNA and RNA. His work played a key role in the formulation of genetic theory.


Gamow earned fame and recognition as a science writer. In 1956, he was awarded the Kalinga Prize by UNESCO for popularizing science with his books. He also sketched many cartoons and illustrations for his books which added quite a dimension to and complemented the text.


George Gamow had all the qualities of a great physics teacher. He conveyed a sense of excitement with the revolution in physics. His doctoral students included Ralph Alpher and Vera Rubin whose significant works were prediction of cosmic microwave background and detection of dark matter, respectively.


George Gamow was full of life much like Feynman never too dull or boring. He possessed an infectious, almost manic enthusiasm in whatever he did. American biologist James Watson described Gamow as card-trick playing, limerick-singing practical joker.

He loved the Greek letters and so much so that he called his wife Rho even though her name actually was Lyubov Vokhmintseva.

His most famous prank was the Alpher–Bethe–Gamow paper. He could not resist adding his colleague Hans Bethe to the list of authors, as a pun on the first three letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha beta gamma.

Who was Gustav Kirchhoff?

gustav kirchhoff biography physics kirchhoff laws

Most high school and engineering students know Gustav Kirchhoff by his namesake circuit laws. But there is more to him than that as we shall see. Gustav Kirchhoff was born on 12 March, 1824 in Prussia (now Germany).

Besides circuit laws, Kirchhoff is known for making pioneering contributions to spectroscopy. With scientist Robert Bunsen, he invented the spectroscope in its modern form. He used it to study the spectrum of the Sun.

In 1859, he showed that the Sun contained sodium apart from Hydrogen and Helium. His spectroscopic work earned him greater fame in his native country. Since 1990, a little over 100 years after his death, the Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award has been given for outstanding achievements in spectroscopy.

Now coming back to electricity. You will be amazed to know that Kirchhoff was only a student when he formulated the two circuit laws in 1845. It later became his doctoral dissertation as well. The two laws are as follows:

  1. The algebraic sum of currents meeting at a point is zero.
  2. The directed sum of the voltages around any closed loop is zero.
They can be used to solve many problems in physics and engineering. Let's have a crack at it with a simple example.

Kirchhoff biography physics Kirchhoff law example

Since (i) the sum of currents at a point must be zero and (ii) currents i1 and i2 are incoming (positive) and i3 and i4 (negative) are outgoing...therefore: 3+9-5-i3=0. This gives i3=7 amp.

That was current law in its simplest form. But combined with voltage law they can be used to solve very complicated circuits.

Apart from spectroscopy and engineering, Kirchhoff made equally important contribution to the field of thermochemistry. In 1858, he gave a law: The overall enthalpy of the reaction will change if the increase in the enthalpy of products and reactants is different.

In 1860, Kirchhoff coined the term black-body radiation and postulated the existence of a perfect black-body, an object that absorbs all the incoming light and reflects none. His studies were used by Max Planck to formulate the Planck's law in 1900.

Although Kirchhoff has become most widely known for his circuit laws but you can realize now how important his other findings were. To the fields of spectroscopy and thermodynamics. Gustav Kirchhoff was a proper genius.

Famous Physicist Who Took His Life Due To Depression

ludwig boltzmann physics biography

Ludwig Boltzmann was an Austrian physicist and philosopher who did not get the recognition for his work that he deserved. It is that which drove him to deep depression and which ultimately led to his suicide in 1906, aged 62.

However, today, we know Boltzmann as one of the founders of thermodynamics. His work, that is, statistical mechanics, is one of the pillars of modern physics. He is remembered not only for his pioneering contributions but also for his great personality.

As a student

He obtained his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1866. His thesis was on the kinetic theory of gases, but it was built upon the idea of atoms, the existence of which was not universally accepted at that time.

James Clerk Maxwell at that time was the only person to take Ludwig's theory seriously. He compiled a list of ideas which helped Boltzmann come up with, what is now called, Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution.

maxwell boltzmann distribution ludwig physics

As a teacher

He taught maths and physics at various universities during his lifetime. Name and year of joining are: University of Graz (1869), University of Vienna (1873), University of Munich (1890). His students included the likes of Lise Meitner and Paul Ehrenfest.

But what brought him wider public attention were his lectures on philosophy. The lecture halls were jam-packed and because of their popularity, Boltzmann was also invited for a dinner party by the then Emperor of Austria.

As a husband

In 1872, long before women were allowed to study at Austrian Universities, Ludwig met the love of his life, Henriette von Aigentler. She wanted to become a professor of physics in Graz but her application was rejected.

Unlike his colleagues at the University of Graz, Boltzmann supported Henriette's decision to re-apply and helped her in the same. In 1876, Ludwig and Henriette married and had three daughters and a son.

Work on Entropy

In 1877, Ludwig explained the law of entropy, that all systems will either be in a state of disorder or move towards it, in an equation which is inscribed on his tombstone. His work was viciously attacked by many leading scientists of the time which led ultimately to his suicide in 1906.

ludwig boltzmann equation tombstone

Only Pakistani To Win Nobel Prize For Physics

abdus salam nobel prize physicist pakistan electroweak

Doctor Abdus Salam is the first and only Pakistani, so far, to receive a Nobel Prize in physics. He is also well known for the development of science and technology in his country.

For example: Salam was an advisor to the Ministry of Science in Pakistan from 1960 to 1974. He was the founding director of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).

Salam also played a key role in Pakistan's development of nuclear energy and contributed to the development of their atomic bomb project in 1972. Thus, he was often called the Scientific Father of Pakistan.

However, in 1974, Salam departed from his country, in protest, after the Parliament of Pakistan passed a bill declaring the members of Ahmadiya Muslim community, to which he belonged, non-Muslims.

In 1979, he won the Nobel Prize for physics alongside Sheldon Lee Glashow and Steven Weinberg, for the electroweak unification theory. Thus, after this extraordinary accomplishment, he once again became his nation's hero.

Salam continued to stay in England until his death in 1996. But, his dying wish was to be buried in his beloved nation. It was fulfilled and approximately 30,000 people attended his funeral prayers in Pakistan.


In 1951, he obtained a PhD degree from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge. His doctoral thesis earned him not only popularity and reputation but also an Adams Prize.

Salam then worked on the unification of electromagnetic and weak forces (from 1959 onwards) with Glashow and Weinberg.

In 1966, he proposed a hypothetical particle, when he showed the possible interaction between magnetic monopole and C-violation. He thus formulated the "magnetic photon".

In 1972, he collaborated with Indian-American physicist Jogesh Pati. They developed a theory of everything (GUT) known as the  Pati–Salam model.

7 Facts About Johannes Kepler You Didn't Know

johannes kepler facts astronomy science

Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer who discovered the three laws of planetary motion. Apart from his contributions to astronomy, he is also known to have pioneered the field of optics. In this post, let's read some amazing facts about Kepler and his work.

Early Affliction

He suffered from small pox at a very early age. The disease left him with a weak eyesight. Isn't it wonderful then how he went on to invent eyeglasses for near-eye and far-eye sightedness?

Introduction to Astronomy

Kepler's childhood was worsened by his family's financial troubles. At the age of 6, Johannes had to drop out of school so to earn money for the family. He worked as a waiter in an inn.

In the same year, his mother took him out at night to show him the Great Comet of 1577 which aroused his life-long interest in science and astronomy.

Copernican Supporter

At a time when everyone was against the heliocentric model of the universe, Kepler became its outspoken supporter. He was the first person to defend the Copernican theory from both a scientific and a religious perspective.

Contemporary of Galileo

Galileo was not a great supporter of Kepler's work especially when Kepler had proposed that the Moon had an influence over the water (tides). It would take an understanding by Newton many decades later which would prove Kepler correct and Galileo wrong.

Pioneer of Optics

Kepler made ground-breaking contributions to optics including the formulation of inverse-square law governing the intensity of light; inventing an improved refracting telescope; and correctly explaining the functioning of the human eye.

Helped Newton

His planetary laws went on to help Sir Isaac Newton derive the inverse square law of gravity. Newton had famously acknowledged Kepler's role, in a quote: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giant(s)."

Kepler's Legacy

There is a mountain range in New Zealand named after the famous astronomer. A crater on the Moon is called Kepler's crater. NASA paid tribute to the scientist by naming their exo-planet finding telescope, Kepler.

When Pioneer of Thermodynamics Was Rejected

james prescott joule thermodynamics

Sometimes an idea is so far ahead of the time that when proposed it is met with suspicion and mockery. This happened with English physicist and mathematician James Prescott Joule (1818–1889) when he tried to publish his concept of heat.

Joule was an avid reader and grew up interested particularly in the field of electricity. He and his brother experimented by giving electric shocks to each other. However, a long-time association with his father's brewery business drew him closer to studying the nature of heat.

In 1843, Joule identified heat as a form of energy. This idea was rejected by the Royal Society because at that time heat was considered to be a "material fluid" which flowed from hot to cold body.

Joule's concept posited that heat was not a fluid but rather a "vibration" from one molecule to another. But at that time (1840s) the existence of atoms and molecules was a disputed subject among scientists. Therefore, Joule's visualization of heat was deemed mere fantasy.

Despite initial rejection, Joule tried to demonstrate his idea mechanically in 1845. His experiment involved the use of a falling weight, in which gravity does the mechanical work, to spin a paddle wheel in an insulated barrel of water. The spinning increased the temperature of water.

james prescott joule thermodynamics heat apparatus

Thus, the experiment not only showed that work and energy were equivalent but also that potential energy of the falling weight was getting converted into heat, hence the rise in temperature. So, heat must be a form of energy.

Joule was laughed at in the beginning but he kept on trying, until his idea became common-sense and he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1850.

He went on to work with renowned British physicist William Thomson, aka Lord Kelvin. Together, they developed the absolute temperature scale and published the Joule-Thomson effect, in 1852, a process which has applications in cooling appliances such as refrigerator and air conditioner.

Today, the SI unit of work (and energy) has been named Joule in his honor. He is also widely recognized as one of the founders of thermodynamics as his results led to the formation of the first law.

How Max Born Won Nobel Prize After Getting Suspended

max born quantum mechanics biography

In 1933, when the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, physicist Max Born, who was Jewish, was suspended from professorship at the University of Göttingen. It was a poor decision since under him Göttingen had become one of the world's most promising centres for physics.

Born had spent over 12 years at the University. Here, he developed the matrix mechanics with his assistant Werner Heisenberg. Furthermore, this was the place where he formulated an interpretation of the probability density function, which won him the Nobel Prize, almost 20 years later, in 1954.

Out of job, he accepted an offer from physicist C. V. Raman to go to Bangalore in 1935 where he taught at the Indian Institute of Science. Then, in 1936, he migrated to the University of Edinburgh where he was offered a permanent chair.

Born became a naturalized British citizen in 1939, one year before the second world war broke out in Europe. During this time, he helped as many of his remaining friends and relatives still in Germany get out of the country thus saving them from persecution.

Despite all the bad memories, Gottingen always remained especially close to his heart because it was there that he came under the guidance of the three most renowned mathematicians of the time: Felix Klein, David Hilbert and Hermann Minkowski.

Although Klein didn't approve of Born's particular interest in natural philosophy (physics) he was still impressed by his mathematical prowess. Hilbert especially identified Born's talent and soon hired him as an assistant. Born would often meet Minkowski at Hilbert's house where they would discuss the theory of relativity.

Here, at Gottingen, in 1922, Arnold Sommerfeld sent his student Werner Heisenberg to be Born's assistant. Three years later, they had formulated the matrix interpretation of quantum mechanics. It won Heisenberg his Nobel Prize in physics (1932).

A year later, Heisenberg wrote a letter to Born in which he said how he had delayed in writing to him due to a "bad conscience" that he alone had received the Prize for work done in collaboration. Born, however, did not mind at all as his contribution to quantum mechanics could not be changed by a "wrong decision" from the outside.

But Born would ultimately win the most coveted prize in 1954 after a fruitful career of 50 years. He was 72 years old at the time of winning. He died in 1970 and is buried in the same cemetery as David Hilbert. Born's life thus came full circle. In 2017, Google honored Born with a doodle on their home page.

Nominated 84 Times For Nobel Prize But Never Won

arnold sommerfeld genius facts

If there was anybody close to Einstein's genius, it was his compatriot Arnold Sommerfeld. And despite being 10 years Einstein's senior, Sommerfeld was more supportive of the new quantum theory and made many pioneering contributions to it.

Also, did you know that Sommerfeld served in the military for 9 years before becoming a full-time physics professor? Like that, following are 10 amazing facts from Arnold Sommerfeld's life as a tribute to the most under-appreciated physics brain of the 20th century.

1. Since childhood, Arnold Sommerfeld was a quick learner. He received his PhD in physics when he was only 22 years old.

2. He was among the first to acknowledge the validity of Einstein's relativity. His support helped it propel into more of an "accepted status" in the scientific community.

3. Sommerfeld received 84 nominations across 25 years for Nobel Prize in physics (more than any other physicist) but surprisingly, he never won.

4. Yet, he won many times through those he educated and inspired, including (but not limited to) Heisenberg, Pauli, Debye and Bethe.

5. He was the one who introduced the second and the third quantum numbers. They're important because of their use in determining the electron configuration inside an atom.

6. Einstein once told Sommerfeld: "What I especially admire about you is that you have pounded out of the soil such a large number of young talents."

7. Sommerfeld encouraged collaboration from his students. He would home tutor them or meet at a local café to discuss their doubts after a lecture. His successful teaching career was 32 years long.

8. Sommerfeld was also a traveler who traveled around the world in two years (1928-1929) with major stops in India, China, Japan and the US.

9. He wrote to Einstein shortly after Hitler took to power: "I can assure you that the misuse of the word ‘national’ by our rulers has thoroughly broken me of the habit of national feelings that was so pronounced in my case."

10. Sommerfeld died in 1951 in Munich after getting hit by a truck while he was walking with his grandchildren. He was 82 years old. In 2004, department of theoretical physics at the University of Munich was named after Sommerfeld.

Who Was Jagadish Chandra Bose?

jagadish chandra bose biography facts

There are only a handful of people whose legacy goes on to live for-ever. Indian scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose is one of them, as you shall see. He was born in Bikrampur, present-day Bangladesh, on November 30, 1858. His father was a colleague of reformist Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his mother was a housewife.

Early education

Most of Bose's education was conducted in Calcutta. After graduation in 1879, he wanted to compete for Indian Civil Service examination but his father, Bhagawan Chandra Bose, cancelled that plan. He wanted his son to become a science scholar instead, which was why, he sent Jagadish to London for further training.

Change of Plans

At first, Bose was enrolled at University of London so to become a doctor. However, he had to quit it mid-way because of illness due to the odour in dissection rooms. Therefore, he shifted his attention to natural sciences and earned a general-sciences degree from the University of Cambridge in 1884.

Work with Waves

After returning from England, Bose became a professor of physics at Presidency College, Calcutta. During a November 1894 lecture, he ignited gunpowder and rang a bell at a distance using millimetre long microwaves. He wrote: "The invisible light can easily pass through brick walls, buildings etc. Therefore, messages can be transmitted by means of it without the mediation of wires."

Bose perfected his long-distance communication technique (he invented various microwave components in doing so) but never ever thought of patenting it, unlike his European colleagues, such as Marconi, who himself was developing a telegraphy technique using radio waves.

Fun fact: In 1997, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) named Bose as one of the fathers of radio science.

Plant research

Bose's work with plants was one of a kind. He exposed plants to various stimuli such as microwaves, heat, chemicals, etc. By the help of his own invention, crescograph, a plant movement detector, Bose proved scientifically a parallel between animal and plant tissues. Other striking results were obtained, such as, quivering of injured plants, which Bose interpreted as a power of feeling in plants.


According to his colleagues, Jagadish Chandra Bose was 60 years ahead of time. He was not only remarkable by intellect but also a very progressive human being by character. Furthermore, he was married to renowned feminist and social worker, Abala Bose.

During a conference in 1915, Bose recalled: "In the school, to which I was sent, the son of the Muslim attendant of my father sat on my right side, and the son of a fisherman sat on my left. They were my playmates. When I returned home from school accompanied by my school fellows, my mother welcomed and fed all of us without discrimination. Although she was an orthodox old-fashioned lady."

Bose grew up worshipping science and scientific method. He believed agnosticism to be the real essence of science and scientific method. A man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has "no scientific grounds" for professing to know or believe. Bose laid the foundations of "Basu Bigyan Mandir" (Bose Institute) in Kolkata, West Bengal.

He said: I dedicate today this Institute, not merely a Laboratory but a Temple. The power of physical methods applies to the establishment of that truth which can be realized directly through our senses, or through the vast expansion of the perceptive range by means of artificially created organs.


According to physicist Satyendra Nath Bose, one of the students of Sir J.C. Bose at Presidency College, he was a brilliant teacher whose classes were visually appealing and interactive in style.

But, as a researcher, he faced racial discrimination at the University, because the British Empire continued to assert its control over Indian educational institutions. Bose was denied entry into the laboratories and his funding was often cut short.

Despite it all, J.C. Bose remained a devoted professor there for more than 30 years. In 1917, he established his own research institute and served as its director until his death in 1937.

Summing up

J.C. Bose is a celebrated figure not only for his groundbreaking discoveries and inventions in science but also for his work as an educator. His life's mission was to discourage brain-drain by providing competent research facilities in the country itself. Today, J.C. Bose is remembered as the founder of modern scientific research in India.
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