Science plays an integral role in our day-to-day lives. From mobile phones, television, computer to space explorations and other technologies that we can’t do without, science and technology has come out as a blessing for us. Have you ever imagined what would we be doing if none of these things were invented? Let’s recall those great Indian minds who are behind such wondrous inventions and achieved recognition across the globe.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam, is an Indian scientist who worked as an Aerospace engineer with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Dr. Kalam started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army. Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist. In 1969, he was transferred to the ISRO where he was the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near earth’s orbit in July 1980.
Dr kalam, born on October 15, 1931 left millions of people in shock as his soul departed on July 28 last year. When he passed away, the kind of outpouring in his honour this country witnessed is almost unprecedented. He also served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Kalam advocated plans to develop India into a developed nation by 2020 in his book India 2020.
Renowned as the Father of India’s space programme, Vikram Sarabhai founded Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in 1947. PRL is actively involved in research, related to five major fields of science. PRL is also instrumental in the PLANEX planetary science and exploration programme.
The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements.He was born on 12 August, 1919 in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Sarabhai also established the Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC) that worked towards promoting science and mathematics education among students, teachers and the laypublic.
Its mandate is to stimulate interest, encourage and expose the principles of science and scientific method and also to improve and find innovative methods of science education. Interestingly, he was also the force behind the establishment of many other Indian institutes of repute, most notably the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and the Nehru Foundation for Development.
Homi J. Bhabha is the man behind Quantum Theory. Considered as the father of Indian nuclear power, Homi Bhabha convinced the Congress Party’s senior leaders, most notably Jawaharlal Nehru, to start the ambitious nuclear programme.
Bhabha was an Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).He was the first person to become the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. Born on October 30, 1909 in Bombay, Bhabha started his scientific career in nuclear physics from Great Britain. He died when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc on 24 January 1966.
Chandrasekhara Venkata (CV) Raman won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 for his pioneering work on scattering of light. Born in Tiruchirapalli on November 7, 1888, he was the first Asian and first non-White to receive any Nobel Prize in the field of science.
He discovered that, when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes in wavelength. This phenomenon is now called the Raman scattering and is the result of the Raman effect. Raman also worked on the acoustics of musical instruments. He was the first to investigate the harmonic nature of the sound of the Indian drums such as the tabla and the mridangam. He died of natural causes on 21 November 1970 in the gardens of his institute (the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore).
Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, born on 15 September 1860, was a notable Indian engineer, scholar, statesman and the Diwan of Mysore during 1912 to 1918. He was a recipient of the Indian Republic’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna.
He has the credit of inventing ‘automatic sluice gates’ and ‘block irrigation system’ which are still considered to be marvels in engineering. Each year, his birthday 15 September is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India. Also, Visvesvaraya came up with an efficient way of filtering water through ‘Collector Wells’ in 1895 which was rarely seen anywhere in the world.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician and autodidact who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.At the young age of 11, he had exhausted the mathematical knowledge of two college students who were lodgers at his home.
He completely mastered a book on advanced trigonometry written by S. L. Loney by the age of 13 and discovered sophisticated theorems on his own.Ramanujan died at a young age of 32 and his home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December (Ramanujan’s birthday) as ‘State IT Day’, honouring both the man and his achievements. The Ramanujan Journal, an international publication, was launched to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by his work.
Acharya J.C. Bose was a man of many talents. He was a physicist, polymath, biologist, biophysicist, botanist and archaeologist, as well as an early writer of science fiction. He is considered the father of Bengali science fiction. He pioneered the study of radio and microwave optics, made important contributions to the study of plants and laid the foundation of experimental science in the Indian sub-continent.
Born on 30 November, 1858 in Bikrampur, West Bengal, he was the first person to use semiconductor junctions to detect radio signals, thus demonstrating wireless communication for the first time and being a pioneer in the field of biophysics.Another of his well-known inventions is the crescograph, through which he measured plant response to various stimuli and hypothesized that plants can feel pain, understand affection etc. A crater on the moon has been named in his honour.