Plant ‘cries’: Recalling Jagadish Chandra Bose
- April 19, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Plant ‘cries’: Recalling Jagadish Chandra Bose
Subject :Science and Technology
Section: Contribution of scientists
- Late last month, a group of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel reported that they had been able to pick up distress noises made by plants.
- The researchers said these plants had been making very distinct, high-pitched sounds in the ultrasonic range when faced with some kind of stress, like when they were in need of water.
- This was the first time that plants had been caught making any kind of noise.
About Jagdish Chandra Bose:
- Born on 30th November, 1858 to Bama Sundari Bose and Bhagawan Chandra, Bengal.
- He was a Plant Physiologist and physicist who invented the crescograph, a device for measuring the growth of plants. He for the first time demonstrated that plants have feelings.
- He earned a BSc from University College London, which was connected with the University of London in 1883, and a BA (Natural Sciences Tripos) from the University of Cambridge in 1884.
Contributions to science:
- He made pioneering contributions in both the fields and was the first Indian to have made a powerful impact on modern science, much before Srinivasa Ramanujan, C V Raman, or Satyendra Nath Bose, a student of Jagadish, arrived on the scene.
- Several previous generations of Indians had grown up hearing that Jagadish Chandra Bose had shown, more than a century ago, that plants experienced sensations and were able to feel pleasure and pain just like animals.
- The discovery that plants ‘cry’ in distress, therefore, did not come as much of a surprise to them. It seemed just a logical extension of J C Bose’s work.
- Bose discovered wireless communication and was named the Father of Radio Science by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
- He was responsible for the expansion of experimental science in India.
- Bose is considered the father of Bengali science fiction. A crater on the moon has been named in his honour.
- He founded Bose Institute, a premier research institute of India and also one of its oldest. Established in 1917, the Institute was the first interdisciplinary research centre in Asia. He served as the Director of Bose Institute from its inception until his death.
- To facilitate his research, he constructed automatic recorders capable of registering extremely slight movements, these instruments produced some striking results, such as quivering of injured plants, which Bose interpreted as a power of feeling in plants.
- His books include Response in the Living and Non-Living (1902) and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants (1926).
- Jagadish Chandra Bose is remembered for two things
- his work on wireless transmission of signals, and
- on the physiology of plants.
- He is also credited as one of the first contributors to solid state physics.
- Sir Neville Mott, Nobel Prize winner in 1977, is said to have remarked that Bose was “at least 60 years ahead of his time and he had anticipated the p-type and n-type semiconductors”.
Work on radio waves:
- Bose is widely believed to be the first one to generate electromagnetic signals in the microwave range.
- In 1895 he demonstrated how microwaves could be used, wirelessly, to ring an electric bell on the other side of a building.
- He published as many as 12 papers on radio waves in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, and many more in some other prestigious journals.
- He lectured on his work at some highly publicised scientific gatherings in Europe, in the presence of some of the leading scientists of the day.
- He was the first one to come up with radio receivers, which enabled wireless telegraphy.
- And yet, Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian scientist who carried out the first transmission of signals across the Atlantic in 1901, is recognised as the sole inventor of the radio.
- Marconi, along with another colleague, was awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize for work that Bose is known to have accomplished earlier.
- It was not just bias but a reluctance on Bose’s part to obtain patents for his work, that deprived him of the Nobel.
Controversies over his work:
- Some of his work became controversial as well, particularly when he claimed that not just plants, even inanimate inorganic matter could respond to stimulus, and that there was actually no sharp demarcation between living and non-living worlds.
- Such “mental leaps” have sometimes been attributed to Bose’s “deep convictions in Indian philosophy” and his “faith in universalism”.
- Bose regarded plants to be the “intermediates in a continuum that extended between animals and the non-living materials”.
- Over the years, much of Bose’s work has been confirmed.