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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ordinarising The Extraordinary. The State Bank Of India Versus Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose.

From Drop Box

If only you knew, the magnificence of the life of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose would take your breath away.

If you are one of those fortunate few who have been blessed with the gift of wonder, you will find yourself yearning to be transported to the Calcutta of the early 20th century, wanting to find out how this handsome brown man even ventured to think those fantastic thoughts, with what steadiness and "madness" did he pursue them and finally by what miracle of industry did he make them material.

Consider this :

"A book by Sir Oliver Lodge, "Heinrich Hertz and His Successors," impressed Bose.

In 1894, J.C. Bose converted a small enclosure adjoining a bathroom in the Presidency College into a laboratory.

He carried out experiments involving refraction, diffraction and polarization.
To receive the radiation, he used a variety of different junctions connected to a highly sensitive galvanometer. He plotted in detail the voltage-current characteristics of his junctions, noting their non-linear characteristics. He developed the use of galena crystals for making receivers, both for short wavelength radio waves and for white and ultraviolet light.

Patent rights for their use in detecting electromagnetic radiation were granted to him in 1904.

In 1954 Pearson and Brattain [14] gave priority to Bose for the use of a semi-conducting crystal as a detector of radio waves.

Sir Neville Mott, Nobel Laureate in 1977 for his own contributions to solid-state electronics, remarked [12] that "J.C. Bose was at least 60 years ahead of his time" and "In fact, he had anticipated the existence of P-type and N-type semiconductors."

In 1895 Bose gave his first public demonstration of electromagnetic waves, using them to ring a bell remotely and to explode some gunpowder.

In 1896 the Daily Chronicle of England reported: "The inventor (J.C. Bose) has transmitted signals to a distance of nearly a mile and herein lies the first and obvious and exceedingly valuable application of this new theoretical marvel."

Popov in Russia was doing similar experiments, but had written in December 1895 that he was still entertaining the hope of remote signalling with radio waves.

The first successful wireless signalling experiment by Marconi on Salisbury Plain in England was not until May 1897.

The 1895 public demonstration by Bose in Calcutta predates all these experiments.

Invited by Lord Rayleigh, in 1897 Bose reported on his microwave (millimeter-wave) experiments to the Royal Institution and other societies in England [8].

The wavelengths he used ranged from 2.5 cm to 5 mm. In his presentation to the Royal Institution in January 1897 Bose speculated [see p.88 of ref.8] on the existence of electromagnetic radiation from the sun, suggesting that either the solar or the terrestrial atmosphere might be responsible for the lack of success so far in detecting such radiation - solar emission was not detected until 1942, and the 1.2 cm atmospheric water vapor absorption line was discovered during experimental radar work in 1944. "

Excellence will not be contained.

Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose was a mentor of the legendary Satyen Bose, of the Bose Einstein equations.

150 years after his birth, the global scientific community has finally given Jagadish Chandra Bose, a tiny portion of the recognition that was due to him.

What a song of splendour. Let us sing it again. This time with Ashok Parthasarathi.

" In 1895, Bose successfully demonstrated in public in colonial Calcutta the wireless transmission of electromagnetic waves.

Generating waves using a self-designed and built transmitter at one end of a link and sending them to a similarly built detector located 75 feet away, through intervening obstacles such as the body of Lieutenant General Mackenzie who commanded the British troops in the Calcutta garrison, he set off an explosion in a cache of gunpowder at the other end.

That Bose built all the equipment in the abysmal conditions that existed at the University of Calcutta then, and the country as a whole, in the 1890s makes the achievement even more mind-boggling and creditworthy.

Over the next decade, Bose obtained four U.S. and U.K. patents for his invention with the aid of friends.

It took some five years more for a technician of mixed Italian-Irish parentage, Guglielmo Marconi, to make a similar public demonstration.

In the heyday of imperialism, the Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to 35-year-old Marconi and a 59-year old German physicist from Strasbourg, Karl Ferdinand Braun, “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy.”

Bose was not given the prize although he had published his results in leading international journals and lectured at the Royal Institution in London in 1897 at the invitation of his teacher, Lord Rayleigh, one of the most distinguished British scientists of the time.

In 1899 Bose read a paper at the Royal Society in London, ‘On a Self-Recovering Coherer and the Study of the Cohering Action of Different Metals,’ on his invention of the coherer which used conductors separated by mercury.

In the paper, which was published in April 1899, he wrote: “For very delicate adjustments of pressure, I used in some of the following experiments an U-tube filled with mercury, with a plunger in one of the limbs; various substances were adjusted to touch barely the mercury in the other limb.

"... I then interposed a telephone in the circuit; each time a flash of radiation fell on the receiver the telephone sounded.”

Performing a series of experiments, Bose concluded that“there can be no doubt that the action was entirely due to electric radiation.”

More than two years later, Marconi transmitted radio waves across the Atlantic, using Bose’s coherer — with nary a mention of Bose.

Academic honours such as a D.Sc. by research from London University, a knighthood in 1917 and a membership of the Royal Society of London in 1920 that were conferred on Bose did little to affirm his pioneering status as the father of wireless.

Ironically, in a book by Orrin Dunlap, which Marconi personally edited, a page and a half is devoted to Bose, who is acknowledged by Marconi to have provided crucial support at a critical juncture when he needed it most.

Partial amends were made in 1998 when the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), New York, a global professional academy in the field, announced:

“Our investigative research into the origin and first major use of solid state diode detector devices led to the discovery that the first transatlantic wireless signal in Marconi’s world-famous experiment was received by Marconi using the iron-mercury-iron-coherer with a telephone detector invented by Sir J.C. Bose in 1898.”

With these revelations, belated though they are, we may safely say that Bose, and not Marconi, was the discoverer and demonstrator of wireless radio propagation through free space and thus the father of radio, television and all other forms of radio communication including the Internet. The IEEE inducted Bose into its Wireless Hall of Fame. "

What a horror then, what kind of a disease of the vision or intellect or character, that India's premier bank, the State Bank of India, would spend so much money on such a faint and fuzzy recollection of magnificence.

"A multifaceted genius with boundless curiosity, Jagadish Chandra Bose was a pioneer in several fields."

Is that all that you can say, SBI? Or is that all you know ?

Or is it that at a time when we need all hands on deck to build yet another " Rs 350 crore " memorial to Shivaji Maharaj, when our imaginations are hemmed in by a Jawaharlal this or Rajiv or Indira or Kalaingyar that, maybe getting even this feeble wheeze out was an exercise in pure valour ?

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