What is the first name that comes to your mind when you think 'radio'? Is it Guglielmo Marconi? No surprises there. However, there is someone from closer home, who is credited as the father of wireless communication—Jagdish Chandra Bose. Today's Google Doodle, appearing across a number of countries including India, commemorates this great scientist on his 158th birth anniversary.
Bose was born in Munshiganj district of Bangladesh (then India) on November 30, 1858. At a public demonstration in Calcutta's Town Hall in November 1895, Bose sent an electromagnetic wave across 75 feet, passing through walls to ring bell, and explode some gunpowder. He also invented the Mercury Coherer, a radio wave receiver that was later used by Marconi to build the first operational two-way radio. Bose's contributions mostly went unrecognised because he was never interested in patenting his inventions, allowing people to use them for free.
The multifaceted Bose's contributions extend beyond the sphere of wireless communications. Today we know about plants and their life cycles, but have you ever wondered who might have first observed these details about plants? Bose is the man. Bose, during his studies on plant physiology, was the first scientist to discover that plants, too, are living beings with similar life cycles like that of animals. So, had it not been for Bose, we would not have known our plants as we know them today.
The Google Doodle shows Bose with the crescograph—an instrument he invented to measure growth in plants, and determine environmental effects on vegetation. And all these he pursued even when he was often denied access to laboratories due to his race as the British empire exercised dominance over most educational institutions.
Moving beyond labs and inventions, Bose was a man of words too. He pioneered the sci-fi genre in Bengali fiction. His book Niruddesher Kahini was the first major Bengali science fiction.
Also, Bose has left his mark on the moon with a lunar crater, The Bose Crater, named after him in honour of his works. It is located close to Crater Bhabha, another lunar crater dedicated to Homi Bhabha, father of Indian atomic energy programme.