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All of us know that plants have life, but many of us don’t know that they have hearts, and can feel and see. This chapter tells us about Jagdish Chandra Bose, the great scientist who made this dramatic discovery and shook the scientific community.
The Paris Congress of Science, 1900
It was an event that surprised the scientific world. A man had built an instrument that could measure the growth of plants. With this, he had proved that plants have hearts and can feel. The machine showed that plants have sight and a sense which tells them that a stranger is approaching.
The great men at the Paris Congress of Science, 1900 said that the instrument was wonderful. Jagdish Chandra Bose, the great scientist who had built it said it was called a crescograph.
When asked where it was made, he answered India. This surprised everyone because in the 19th century India had not progressed much in the field of science. Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose with his invention made a name for himself and his country in the scientific world.
Bose’s Early Life
Bose was born in 1858 in a village in Bengal. After studying Physics at Calcutta University, he went to England for further studies. He graduated from Cambridge, then returned to India and was appointed Professor of Physics at Presidency College in Calcutta.
But he was given only half the salary because he was not European. He felt that people who did the same amount and same kind of work should be paid the same salary whatever race or nation they belonged to and thus fought against his treatment. In the end, he won.
Then he began the work which has made him famous all over the world. From his childhood, he had been interested in animal and plant life. He had noticed that his wireless receiver showed signs of ‘tiredness’ after use, but somehow got back its power after being ‘rested’. This thought led to great discoveries.
Bose’s Great Discovery
Bose recognised a unity among all the different branches of science. He realized that there was a similarity in the behaviour of lifeless and living things. But it was not easy to convince others. Bose suggested that the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms had a lot in common. He said that plants and metals had a life of their own and could become ‘tired’, ‘depressed’ or ‘happy’. People laughed at him.
Bose knew he was right and he proved it. He built the ‘crescograph’, the amazing instrument which records the growth of plants. It magnifies the movement of plant tissues ten thousand times and can record the reaction of plants to manures, noise and other stimuli. The crescograph proved that Bose had not been wrong. It showed that plants have hearts and are capable of feeling, have a keen sight and react to rays of light and wireless waves. The machine also proved that plants have a special sense which tells them of the approach of a stranger.
Bose had a deep faith in the intelligence of his countrymen. He was sure that they were capable of doing great things. In an address at a convocation of the University of Mysore in November 1927, Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose spoke about India’s glory in the past and declared that action was responsible for that glory. He believed that there could be no happiness for a single person unless it had been won for all. And this great scientist wanted his countrymen to have undying hope and faith in the future.
Jagadish Chandra Bose’s life and work are extremely inspiring and show us the potential that lies in our own country. This great figure made India proud in the scientific world, and we must continue to honour him for his many contributions.