11 Great Scientists From India Who Made a Global Impact



28 May, 2024

11 Great Scientists From India Who Made a Global Impact

“Science is the poetry of reality.” — Richard Dawkins

If we look at the shifts of paradigms in science, it is evident that we have evolved exponentially. Science (L., scientia or scire, knowledge)-systematic knowledge based on facts, observations and experimentations, Bhagat, Rakesh. (2018).  India has transitioned from ordinary to extraordinary in the last four decades. The change is so evident that we are now one of the top head-turning countries. According to NDTC, January 2024, “India’s

technological strides in 2023 showcase a commitment to innovation and self-reliance. From semiconductor manufacturing to space exploration, defence capabilities, and rapid advancements in telecommunications, the nation isn’t just keeping up but is actively shaping the global technology landscape”. This is all because of the dedication and hard work of these top Indian scientists who changed the world for us all!

1. Sir C. V. Raman

“The essence of science is to ask the right questions.” – C.V Raman

Sir Raman, also known as Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, is known for his lifetime work and established theory on the Raman Effect. The phenomenon in which we understand how light scatters when it passes through a material or different objects. Sir C.V Raman was rewarded a Nobel Prize for his contribution to Physics in 1930. The Raman Effect is widely popular and is part of spectroscopy, a technique used in physics and chemistry to analyse materials. The passion for science in Raman’s work was evident and unstoppable. He published his first scientific paper at 18 and was also interested in studying Indian musical instruments. Lastly, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award 1954.

2. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

“When we think we know, we cease to learn” – Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

The first Vice President and second President of India, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He is one of the renowned philosophers in India. His lifelong dedication to learning was commendable. Through his work for learning and teaching, he transformed the learning platform society into a better educational launchpad.

Radhakrishnan was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954 for his significant contributions to education and philosophy. He also served as an ambassador to UNESCO, promoting the value of education on a global scale.

3. Dr. Satyendranath Bose

“Mathematics is the music of reason,” – Dr. Satyendrantha Bose

Satyendra Nath Bose, is the man who is celebrated for his work in quantum mechanics.  He led the concept of Bose-Einstein statistics and the Bose-Einstein condensate. This groundbreaking research paved the way for modern physics. Though he faced initial hurdles, Bose’s work gained recognition after he sent his findings to Albert Einstein, who validated his research. Although Bose never won a Nobel Prize, he was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 1954.

4. Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose

“Science is nothing but trained and organised common sense.” – Sir Jagdish Bose

Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose was a pioneering scientist who spanned radio waves and plant physiology. His famous wireless communication experiments established the foundation for modern technologies like Wi-Fi. He also demonstrated that plants respond to stimuli, a groundbreaking finding in botany.

Bose became the first Asian Indian scientist to be awarded a US patent and was knighted in 1917.

5. Homi Jehangir Bhabha

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha, known as the “Father of the Indian Nuclear Programme” played a pivotal role in establishing India’s nuclear energy sector. He founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Atomic Energy Establishment, later renamed the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour.

Bhabha advocated for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and worked with some of the most renowned scientists of his time. He received the Padma Bhushan in 1954 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1941. Bhabha has been one of the most eminent Indian scientists whose work was instrumental in shaping India’s nuclear policy.

6. Dr. Meghnad Saha

 “Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant,” – Dr Meghnad Saha

Meghnad Saha was an astrophysicist whose work on thermal ionisation led to the “Saha Equation,” a fundamental concept in astrophysics. This discovery explained how stars are classified based on their spectral properties. Saha’s contributions have had a lasting impact on our understanding of stellar evolution. Saha was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1927 and played a key role in establishing several scientific institutions in India. He has always reflected on his commitment to applied science to solve real-world challenges.

7. Srinivasa Ramanujan

“An equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God.” – Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa displayed a unique relationship between his greatness in mathematics and his belief in spirituality. This duality of his work and dedication is reflected throughout his discoveries.  He was known as a mathematical prodigy whose groundbreaking work in number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions continues to inspire mathematicians. He was rewarded for Ramanujan and was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918, becoming one of the youngest members ever. He was one of the legendary Indian scientists or more specifically, mathematicians known to the world.

8. Dr. Har Gobind Khorana

“I was never aware of any other option but to study hard and work hard.” – Dr Har Gobind Khorana

Dr Har Gobind Khorana was a genetics superstar who cracked the genetic code! He figured out how nucleotides work in protein synthesis, which opened the door to modern genetic engineering. He also developed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a crucial technique for amplifying DNA. Khorana won the Nobel Prize in 1968, and he was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan. He was one of the most prominent Indian scientists whose work continues to inspire scientists in the field of genetics and beyond.

9. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep.” – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

When we talk about Indian science and science, how can I ever miss Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and his groundbreaking work in missile and space technology? The Indian scientist who was known as the “Missile Man of India,” played a key role in developing India’s missile and space technology. From helping design the Agni and Prithvi missiles he also contributed to India’s successful nuclear tests in 1998, bolstering national defence.

As India’s 11th President, Abdul Kalam was called the “People’s President” for his friendly approach. He inspired countless students, encouraging them to dream big and work hard.

Abdul Kalam received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, for his work in science and public service. He also wrote influential books like “Wings of Fire” and “Ignited Minds,” where he shared his vision for India’s future. He is the epitome of warmth, intelligence and dedication.

10. Dr. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

“The real joy of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Dr Subrahmanyan

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, an astrophysicist and Nobel laureate, made significant contributions to the study of stellar evolution. His work on the “Chandrashekhar Limit,” which describes the maximum mass of a white dwarf star, has been instrumental in understanding the later stages of stellar evolution.

Chandrasekhar received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his studies on the structure and evolution of stars. He also received the Padma Vibhushan and became a Fellow of the Royal Society. His groundbreaking research has inspired generations of astrophysicists.

11. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai

Vikram Sarabhai is remembered as the “Father of India’s Space Programme.” He played a crucial role in establishing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was instrumental in promoting space science and education in India. Sarabhai’s efforts led to the creation of ISRO, which has achieved significant milestones in recent years.

Sarabhai was awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest honours, and has numerous institutions and landmarks named after him, including the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. His vision for India’s space programme continues to inspire the next generation of Indian scientists and engineers.

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These top 11 Indian scientists made the world a better-renowned place through their dedication and findings. We have been using, learning and creating new technologies, knowledge and attribution to society through the continuation of these Indian scientists’ works. We live in the 21st century, and their work is still one of the most prominent discoveries around the globe. These scientists have not just transformed the world of technology but have also created a potential hope for all of us to create, transition, and apply knowledge based on facts, observation, and experiment.

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