Scientists in India

Scientists in India: From Zero to Knowing Infinity

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“Can you visualize a world without zeros? Not at all! right? Well, thanks to one of the scientists in India, who introduced us to zero.” Our India is known for its diverse cultures and wisdom of ancient times! But did you know it is also the birthplace of many extraordinary scientific minds in the world?

Well, this blog is for you to celebrate the well-known scientists in India, whose scientific contributions became the talk of the globe.

So, let’s quickly start our blog as a tribute to our outstanding scientists in India.

1.     Sir C. V. Raman

Born: 7 November 1888

Birth Place: Tiruchirapalli, Madras Presidency, British India

Field: Physics

Known For:

  • Raman scattering (Raman effect)
  • Raman spectroscopy

Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman is a globally famous physicist and researcher. Importantly, he discovered ‘The Raman Effect’ in 1928, which transformed the field of spectroscopy. Therefore, this phenomenon involved the scattering of light by molecules resulting in frequency shifts. Consequently, His work listed him among the top scientists in India.

Today, undoubtedly the Raman Effect remains a fundamental concept in modern physics and has even gained importance in fields such as chemistry, medicine, and textile science. Hence, this is proof of Raman’s neverending legacy in the world of science. In addition, he was also the man behind the establishment of ‘The Indian Academy of Science’ and ‘The Indian Journal of Physics.’

Raman’s brilliance was not limited just to the field of science! He also topped the Indian Finance Services examination, which was one of the most prestigious government services in India at the time.

Notable Awards:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Matteucci Medal
  • Knight Bachelor
  • Hughes Medal
  • Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Bharat Ratna
  • Lenin Peace Prize

2.     Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Born: 15 October 1931

Birth Place: Rameswaram, Madras Presidency, British India

Field: Aerospace engineering

Known For:

  • Indian aerospace scientist
  • The 11th president of India

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is remembered as a man of humble personality and a heart full of compassion! Therefore this makes him one of the most beloved scientists in India.

Followingly, after graduating from Madras University with a degree in Physics and Aeronautical engineering, Kalam joined the ‘Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’. He also served the ‘Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’. Indeed, his contributions to the development of ‘ballistic missiles’ and ‘launch vehicle technologies’ earned him the title of “Missile Man of India.”

In 2002, Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India, with the united support of both ‘Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.’ Moreover, he was also known as the ‘People’s President’ for his caring and affectionate nature. After his presidential period, he dedicated his life to education, writing, and public service.

Dr. Kalam’s life and work continue to inspire the Indian youth to be India’s bright future. His dedication to science and technology led to the successful launch of India’s first ‘satellite launch vehicle: SLV-III,’ and the development of the ‘Agni and Prithvi missile systems.’ Thus, Dr. Kalam’s legacy teaches us the power of determination, humility, and a strong mind.

Notable Awards:

  • Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration – Government of India
  • Veer Savarkar Award – Government of India
  • SASTRA Ramanujan Prize – Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, India
  • Von Braun Award – National Space Society, United States
  • India declared his birthday as World Students’ Day

3.     Srinivasa Ramanujan

Born: 22 December 1887

Birth Place: Erode, Mysore State, British India (now in Tamil Nadu, India)

Field: Mathematics

Known For:

  • Ramanujan’s sum
  • Ramanujan conjecture
  • Mock theta functions
  • Landau – Ramanujan constant
  • Ramanujan prime
  • Rogers – Ramanujan identities
  • Ramanujan – Soldner constant
  • Ramanujan theta function
  • Ramanujan’s master theorem
  • Hardy – Ramanujan asymptotic formula
  • Ramanujan – Sato series

Srinivasa Ramanujan, also known as ‘The Mathematical Genius’.Despite lacking formal education in the subject, Ramanujan solved mathematical problems that were once deemed unsolvable. Therefore, he is one of the most brilliant scientists in India.

Moreover, Ramanujan’s legacy includes 3900 results, including novel identities, equations, and theorems. As well as, concepts like the Ramanujan prime, Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae, and mock theta functions emerged from his work. The Ramanujan Journal was also established to publish research inspired by him.

The story of the number 1729:

For instance, during a hospital visit, Hardy (Ramanujan’s British Mentor) mentioned that the taxi’s number plate was 1729 – a seemingly dull number. Ramanujan disagreed, calling it fascinating. Because it’s the smallest number identifiable as the sum of two cubes in two different ways:

  1. 1000 + 729 = 1729
  2. 1728 + 1 = 1729

His work was based on diverse topics including number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. Due to his independent discoveries, such as the ‘Ramanujan Prime’ and the ‘Ramanujan Theta Function,’ even today continue to inspire mathematicians worldwide. Additionally, his collaboration with British mathematician G.H. Hardy resulted in outstanding articles and books, connecting his status as ‘a symbol of mathematical brilliance’ and strong dedication to discovery.

Notable Awards: Fellow of the Royal Society (1918)

4.     Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Born: 30 November 1858

Birth Place: Bikrampur, Bengal, British India

Field: Physics, biophysics, biology, botany

Known for:

  • Millimeter waves
  • Radio
  • Crescograph
  • Contributions to Botany
  • Crystal radio
  • Crystal detector

Plant Biology: Jagadish Chandra Bose, a well-known Indian physicist, biologist, and inventor who made innovative discoveries in plant biology. Indeed, his invention, the Crescograph, changed our understanding of how plants respond to their environment. Using this amazing device, Bose observed plant reactions to light, sound, and chemicals.

Above all, the ‘Crescograph’ magnified plant movements up to 10,000 times, revealing their ability to recognize and adapt. Hence, his work laid the foundation for modern plant studies, highlighting the interconnection of all living organisms. Therefore, he is one of the smartest scientists in India to do this. His works continue to inspire biological research till today.

Wireless Communication: Indeed being called ‘the father of modern science’ in India, Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose achieved a powerful turning point in his career by providing wireless communication through radio waves. Besides, today’s WiFi technology records its origins back to his research of that time.

In a public demonstration at Town Hall, Kolkata, Bose ignited gunpowder and rang a bell using millimeter-range microwaves from a distance. His efforts highlighted the potential of wireless communication via radio waves, consequently, he is among those scientists in India who set the stage for future innovations.

Notable awards:

  • Companion of The Order of the Indian Empire (CIE)
  • Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI)
  • Knight Bachelor

5.     Dr. Homi J. Bhabha

Born: 30 October 1909

Birth Place: Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India

Field: Nuclear physics

Known For:

  • Indian Nuclear Program
  • Cascade process of Cosmic radiation
  • Point Particles
  • Bhabha Scattering
  • Theoretical Prediction of Muon

Homi J. Bhabha, also known as ‘the father of India’s nuclear program,’ was among the best scientists in India and a noted physicist. His work in ‘quantum theory’ and ‘nuclear physics’ has had a lasting impact. Undoubtedly, Bhabha played an important role in establishing the Atomic Energy Commission of India.

Hence, this way he set the stage for the country’s nuclear advancements. His efforts led to institutions like the ‘Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)’ and ‘the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC),’ which continue to operate scientific innovation.

Dr. Bhabha has earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. Consequently, his interest in academics got him the ‘Isaac Newton Studentship’ and a ‘doctorate in Nuclear Physics’ in 1933. Also, his first paper, ‘The Absorption of Cosmic Radiation,’ marked an important highlight in his career.

In 1945, he founded TIFR, and by 1954, he was leading the ‘Trombay Atomic Energy Establishment.’ In addition, his research contributions include the discovery of ‘Bhabha Scattering’, which is named after him and was even recognized with awards. Without a doubt, his legacy as a scientist inspires generations.

Notable Awards:

  • Adams Prize
  • Padma Bhushan
  • Fellow of the Royal Society


6.     Vikram Sarabhai

Vikram Sarabhai

Born: 12 August 1919

Birth Place: Ahmedabad, Bombay Presidency, British India (now in Gujarat, India)

Field: Physics

Known For:

  • Indian space program
  • Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Vikram Sarabhai, often famous as ‘the father of India’s space program’, was one of the noted scientists in India who transformed space exploration. In addition, he led the ‘Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’ to a new level with the launch of India’s first satellite ‘Aryabhata’ in 1975. Thus, this turned into the beginning of India’s journey into the space era.

Sarabhai’s dedication powered the development of India’s rockets and satellites. He was not only a scientist but also a person with a vision of building institutions. At the young age of 28, he founded the ‘Physical Research Laboratory.’ Later he also established the ‘Indian Institute of Management’ in Ahmedabad.

It should be noted, that he played a key role in setting up the world’s first rocket station in Thumba. His collaboration with NASA led to the ‘Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE),’ which aimed to use space technology for education.

Especially, for his contributions, Sarabhai received awards. And his legacy lives on, with the Chandrayaan-2 lander and the ‘Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre’ named in his honor. Sarabhai’s constant efforts for his vision continue to inspire space scientists and science lovers around the world.

Notable Awards:

  • Padma Bhushan
  • Padma Vibhushan (posthumously)

7.     Satyendra Nath Bose

Born: 1 January 1894

Birth Place: Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India

Field: Theoretical Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Mathematics

Known For:

  • Bose-Einstein condensate
  • Photon gas
  • Bose-Einstein distribution
  • Bosonic string theory
  • Bose gas
  • Boson
  • Bose-Einstein correlations
  • Bose-Einstein statistics
  • Ideal Bose Equation of State

Satyendra Nath Bose was an Indian physicist well-known for his collaborations with Albert Einstein. His work in the field of quantum mechanics was truly remarkable. As a result, this led to the development of the ‘Bose-Einstein statistics’ and the concept of the ‘Bose-Einstein condensate,’ which is the state of matter that occurs at extremely low temperatures. This note-worthy work has helped us understand ‘particle behavior’ in a better way in quantum physics.

After his initial research was ignored, he directly sent his work to Einstein, who recognized the value of Satyendra’s work and agreed to collaborate with him, which then led to many innovative discoveries. The Indian government acknowledged his scientific contributions by awards, counting him as one of the most honored scientists in India.

Bose was also a committed teacher and a National Professor. Apart from this, he headed many scientific institutions as well. His work has led to remarkable scientific developments. The term ‘Boson,’ is used to describe a classification of particles in his honor. Indeed Bose’s dedication to science and education is an inspiration to many even today.

Notable Awards:

  • Padma Vibhushan
  • Fellow of the Royal Society

8.     Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Born: 1952

Birth Place: Chidambaram, Madras State (now Tamil Nadu), India

Field: Biology

Known For:

  • Structure and function of the ribosome
  • macromolecular crystallography

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is one of the famous scientists in India. He earned the Nobel Prize for his extraordinary work in chemistry. His journey of education began in India which later led him to the United States, where he completed his Ph.D. in Physics. However, his interest in biology guided him toward ‘structural biology’ where he focused on the structures of biological molecules.

In 2009, he researched ribosomes, which play an important role in protein synthesis within the cell of a plant. Undoubtedly, this work about ribosomes provided an in-depth understanding of the molecular processes of life. Apart from his research, Ramakrishnan has been a strong supporter of science in India. His leadership and commitment continue to inspire young scientists and students across the world even today.

Notable Awards:

  • Knight Bachelor
  • Padma Vibhushan
  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Order of Merit

9.     Aryabhata

Born: 476 CE

Birth Place: Kusumapura (Pataliputra) (present-day Patna, India)

Field: Mathematics, astronomy

Known For:

  • Aryabhatiya
  • Diophantine Equations
  • Trigonometry and Algebra
  • Approximation of Pi
  • Astronomy
  • Place of Zero in Value System
  • Sine Table
  • Eclipse Theory
  • Rotation of Earth

Aryabhata is a legendary figure in the world of mathematics and astronomy. His work in mathematics includes innovative methods for calculating square and cubic roots, and discovering the value of π (pi) which is notably close to the actual value of it. In addition, he also explored algebra, covering topics like ‘quadratic equations and linear equations,’ which are foundational to modern mathematics.

In astronomy, he wrote Aryabhatiya, a work that presented a full view of the universe as he understood it. Importantly, he stated that the Earth rotates on its axis and he also explained the causes of eclipses, which were nearly impossible to know at the time by others.

Additionally, his wisdom in the ‘motions of celestial bodies’ and his calculations on the length of the ‘sidereal year’ were so accurate for his era. Therefore he is one of the most ancient scientists in India remembered even today for his extraordinary mind.

Without a doubt, his introduction of the ‘decimal system’ and ‘the concept of zero’ were simply amazing and have become fundamentals in the field of mathematics. His work laid the foundations for future scientists and mathematicians, making him a true leader whose discoveries continue to echo in the scientific community even today.

Notable Awards:

  • Aryabhata did not win any awards himself, as recognition of achievements was not usual during his time. However, in his honor – The ‘Aryabhata Award’ is an award given to individuals with remarkable contributions in the field of astronautics and aerospace technology in India.

10.  Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

Born: 29 June 1893

Birth Place: Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India

Field: Mathematics, statistics

Known For:

  • Mahalanobis distance
  • Feldman–Mahalanobis model

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis is included in the list of the most innovative statisticians and scientists in India. Besides, he is known for creating the Mahalanobis distance, a measure that transformed statistics. Moreover, It was his interest in numbers that led him to establish the ‘Indian Statistical Institute (ISI),’ which with time became a main point for research and education in statistics.

Also, His extraordinary techniques that were used in random sampling to calculate crop yields and land acres have had a life-long impact on statistical methods.

He is also recognized as the ‘father of statistical science’ in India. His contributions were not just limited to academics! He was also a key member of ‘the first Planning Commission of Free India.’ There he applied his expertise in statistics to develop the nation. His work acts as the foundation of modern statistics which inspires the new generations of statisticians and researchers worldwide.

Notable Awards:

  • Padma Vibhushan
  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
  • Weldon Memorial Prize

End Note

As we conclude the journey through the lives of these great scientists in India, we realize it is much more than just a walk down memory lane of inventions! It’s a call to awaken the curiosity in each one of us.

Moreover, their innovation stories are like the power source to ignite our extraordinary dreams into reality! Do you feel the spark? If yes? Let’s together celebrate the spirit of discovery within us and encourage the coming generation to reach for the stars contributing to a future where science and curiosity create endless possibilities.

Simran Khan

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