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Inspiration Our India

8 Famous Indian Scientists Who Made India Shine Bright

Devika S
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From ancient times to the present, India has produced numerous scientists who have contributed much for the betterment of humanity. Through their contributions, they have brought immense recognition and fame to our nation. Let us take a look at some of these imminent figures who have etched their names in our history through their remarkable efforts.

Aryabhatta

Author of great astronomical and mathematical treatises such as Aryabhatiya and Arya-Siddhanta, Aryabhatta was a major astronomer-mathematician from the Indian Classical Age. With no modern equipment to his aid, he had deduced that the Earth is round in shape and that it rotates on its on-axis causing days and nights. 

Recognising his talent and contributions, he was made the head of Nalanda University by Buddhagupta in 499 AD. In honour of the great scientist, the first Indian satellite was named Aryabhatta.In another effort to honour the astronomer, Astronautical Society of India (ASI), presents notable scientists who have made significant contributions to aeronautics and aerospace technology with the Aryabhatta Award. 

Major Contributions

  • He provided the correct approximation of Pi (π) to 3.14.
  • He also successfully provided the formula for calculating the area of triangles and circles. 
  • He was the first known person to solve diophantine equations.
  • He made accurate calculations of the length of day and year.

Dr Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman

C.V. Raman won the Nobel Prize for science in 1930 becoming the first Asian to receive the honour. He was given the award for his pioneering work on scattering of light. When light traverses a transparent material, some of the light that is deflected changes in wavelength. This phenomenon is now called the Raman Effect and helped proved that light is made of particles called photons.

In addition to this, Raman also worked on the acoustics of musical instruments and was the first to investigate the harmonic nature of the sound of the Indian drums such as the tabla and mridangam.

In 1948, he established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore. In 1954, India honoured him with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country. In addition to this, India also celebrates National Science Day 28 February to commemorate the discovery of the Raman Effect  

In 1998, the American Chemical Society and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science recognised Raman’s discovery as an International Historic Chemical Landmark.

Major Contributions

  • Raman Effect- When light traverses a transparent material, some of the light that is deflected changes in wavelength.
  • He helped prove that light is made of particles called photons.
  • He established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore.

Dr Jagadish Chandra Bose

J.C Bose was a polymath, physicist, botanist and an archaeologist. He invented ‘Crescograph’ that can record even the millionth part of a millimetre of plant growth and orbital movement. He also demonstrated that plants are also sensitive to heat, cold, light, noise and various other external stimuli.

Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his only book on science, Visva–Parichay, to Satyendra Nath Bose. He was honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in 1954.  He was knighted in 1917 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1920 for his amazing contributions and achievements. 

Major Contributions

  • He invented Crescograph
  • He proved that plants have life and respond to external stimuli.
  • He was the first to invent Mercury Coherer which was used in Marconi’s Radio receiver.

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha

Dr Homi Baba was a nuclear physicist and the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. He is often described as the father of Indian nuclear power. He founded the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET), which was later renamed to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour.

In quantum physics, the cross-section of electron-positron scattering was renamed “Bhabha scattering” in his honour. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951 and 1953–1956. India honoured him with Padma Bhushan in 1954.

Major Contributions

  • He founded the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET)
  • Under his direction, Indian scientists made their way into making an atomic bomb and the first atomic reactor was operated in Mumbai in 1956. 
  • He led the first UN Conference held for Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, 1955.

Dr Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai

A scientist, physicist and astronomer, Vikram Sarabhai was a key figure behind the launch of India’s first satellite ‘Aryabhatta’. He is often considered as the father of India’s Space Programme. 

He was instrumental in the setting up of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and also had a hand in the setting up of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). A major space research centre of ISRO located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala is named Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in honour of the scientist.

 He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vubushan in 1972.

Major Contributions

  • He was the founding director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.
  • He established Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC)
  • He established the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969.

Srinivas Ramanujan

S Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician and autodidact who hailed from Tamil Nadu Even though he had no formal training in pure mathematics he made huge contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.

During his short life, he independently compiled 3900 results, many of them novel and highly unconventional such as Ramanujan Prime and Ramanujan Theta Function. The number 1729. Which is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways, is called the Hardy-Ramanujan number.

In his honour, 22nd December is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in India. Also, Tamil Nadu celebrates the day as “State IT Day” to remember his achievements.

Major Contributions

  • Ramanujan Prime and Ramanujan Theta function
  • He worked on Elliptic functions, continued fractions and infinite series
  • He published a research paper on Bernoulli numbers in 1911 in the journal of the Indian mathematical society.

Salim Ali

An ornithologist and naturalist, Sálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali is often referred to as the “Birdman of India”. He played a huge role in preventing the destruction of what is now called the Silent Valley National Park. 

In collaboration with Sidney Dillon Ripley, he wrote a landmark ten-volume Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. His autobiography is called Fall of a Sparrow. In his honour, several species of birds and several bird sanctuaries have been named after him. 

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1958 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1976, India’s third and second highest civilian honours respectively.

Major Contributions

  • He published a research paper discussing the nature and activities of the weaver bird in 1930.
  •  He was the first Indian to conduct a systematic bird survey in India.
  • A key figure behind the creation of Bharatpur bird sanctuary.

A.P.J Abdul Kalam

An aerospace scientist, often described as the Missile Man of India, A.P.J Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India. He was often referred to as the ‘People’s President’, he played a key role in the development of India’s nuclear and missile development programs. 

Throughout his life, he was committed to the cause of transforming India with the aid of science and technology. He was also a poet and a writer and has authored many works, including his autobiography Wings of Fire. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO. He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his contributions to scientific research and modernization of defence technology in India.

His birthday is observed as “Youth Renaissance Day” in the state of Tamil Nadu. In September 2015, Wheeler Island, a national missile testing site in Odisha was renamed as Abdul Kalam Island.

Major Contributions

  • He was a project Director in ISRO helping to develop India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  • He took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at DRDO.
  • He was the brain behind multiple nuclear tests carried out at Pokhran in 1998 which made India a nuclear weapon state.
  • He was deeply involved in the country’s Light Combat Aircraft project.
Devika S
Devika S

Devika S is a copywriter at Next Education India Pvt Ltd. She has completed her Masters in English from the University of Hyderabad. Being a language enthusiast, Devika is well-versed in the Chinese language. She is a passionate reader and ardent listener of a wide variety of music.

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