SCIENTISTS OF INDIA

From C. V. Raman to Salim Ali, the talents of Indian scientists and inventors have been established in many areas, including physics, medicine, mathematics, chemistry and biology. Some of them have also contributed in a substantial way to advanced scientific research in many different regions of the world.

Let’s have a look at some of the famous scientists of  India and their contributions.

MEGHNAD SAHA

megha1

He made remarkable contribution to the field of Astrophysics. In 1919, American Astrophysical Journal published – “On Selective Radiation Pressure and its Application” – a research paper by Meghnad Saha. He put forward an “onization formula” which explained the presence of the spectral lines. The formula proved to be a breakthrough in astrophysics.

He invented an instrument to measure the weight and pressure of solar rays. He produced the famous equation, which he called ‘equation of the reaction-isobar for ionization’, which later became known as Saha’s “Thermo-Ionization Equation”.

Saha was the leading spirit in organizing the scientific societies like the ‘National Academy of Science’ (1930), ‘Indian Institute of Science’ (1935), and the ‘ Indian Association for the Cultivation of science’ (1944). The lasting memorial to him is the ‘Saha Institute of Nuclear physics’ founded in 1943 in Calcutta. He was the chief architect of river planning in India. He prepared the original plan for Damodar Valley Project. Meghnad Saha was an Indian astrophysicist who nominated for the ‘Nobel prize’ in physics in 1935-36.

SISIR KUMAR MITRA

Sisir Kumar Mitra

He is renowned in the scientific world for his contribution to the study of the ‘ionosphere’, which is a layer containing electrically charged particles called ‘ions’ in the upper atmosphere.  The study of the ionosphere is therefore, vital for radio communication.

Besides numerous other contributions, Mitra also found out why the night sky appears dusty black and not jet-black as it should.  He attributed this to the presence of ions in the F layer which emit some light, the process being called “night sky luminescence”.

Due to his untiring efforts, the radio industry was started in the country.  He introduced this newborn science of communication in the country.

The Haringhata Ionosphere Field Station was installed and the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics was founded in Calcutta.

VIKRAM SARABHAI

Scientist Vikram Sarabhai

He was the main personality behind the launching of India’s first satellite, ‘Aryabhatta’. He is considered as the ‘father of the Indian Space Programme’. He was among the few scientists who devoted their entire life to the progress of science in our country.

Vikram Sarabhai ushered in the space age, by expanding the Indian Space Research Organisation.  The credit for much of what India achieved in space technology must go to him.   In 1943 he went to the Himalayas to study cosmic rays at high altitude.  He was so thrilled that he decided to set up a laboratory to study cosmic rays.

He founded the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad an institution devoted to the study of cosmic rays and outer space.  In 1955, he set up a branch of the laboratory at Gulmarg in Kashmir and set up other branches in Trivandrum and Kodaikanal.   He was President of Physics Section of Indian Science Congress Association in 1962.  He was awarded with Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 1962, Padmashri in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan in 1972.

PRAFULLA C. RAY

Prafulla chandra

Prafulla Chandra Ray was a pioneer who promoted chemical education, chemical research and chemical industries in India.  He successfully prepared phosphate of soda crystals from waste cattle bones and sulphuric acid.  His main contribution to chemistry was the discovery of mercurous nitrite in 1896.  His small chemical laboratory developed into the biggest chemical firm of the country as the modern Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Works.  He is recognized as the Father of India’s Chemical Industry.

He published 200 research papers and was the author of a great book, ‘The History of Hindu Chemistry’ in two volumes in 1902.  He also wrote many popular science articles entitled ‘India Before’ and ‘After the Mutiny, Essay on India’.  He was the General President of Indian Science Congress Association, 1920.  He was awarded with the Gilchrist Prize in 1882, the Hope prize from Edinburgh Universityin 1887, the CIE Honour in 1912 and was knighted in 1919.  From his gifted amount, a research prize in chemistry entitled ‘Indian Magazine Prize’ has been instituted.  He donated thousands of rupees for the benefit of the poor and the afflicted.

C. V.RAMAN

c.v.raman

His discovered ‘Raman Effect’ – the phenomenon that causes changes in the nature of light when it is passed through a transparent medium.  The ‘Raman Effect’ has great relevance in understanding the molecular structure of chemical compounds.  The world hailed this discovery and for the scientific research in this country, it was a red-letter day.   This discovery won him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics. With the invention of the ‘laser’ the ‘Raman Effect’ has become a power tool for scientists.

He was Director of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore during 1933-43.  He was President of Indian Science Congress Association in 1928.  he was honoured knighthood by British government in 1929; Metenchi Medal, Rome in 1929.

His work mainly covers molecular diffraction of light, mechanical theory of bowed strings and diffraction of X-rays, theory of musical instrument and physics of crystals.

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