15 Indian Scientists Who Made History

By Vandya Rai

July 06, 2022

Vikram Sarabhai

Father of the Indian Space Program. He helped in founding INCOSPAR, now known as ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). He was a key scientist behind the launch of India’s first satellite, ‘Aryabhatta’. He also researched cosmic rays.

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Srinivasa Ramanujan

The mathematical genius of India with no formal training in the field! His contributions are in number theory, infinite series, complex analysis, and continued fractions. He developed exceptional ways of calculating pi, which was later used in computer algorithms. 

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Bibha Chowdhuri

Developed the basic principles of identifying new particles. Bibha worked on the discovery of a new subatomic particle, the pi-meson (pion). Although her work was largely unrecognised, a star was named after her in her honour.

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CV Raman

The first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize in science for his pioneering work on the scattering of light. known as the ‘Raman Effect’. He also investigated the physics behind the harmonics of the tabla and the mridangam.

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Satyendra Nath Bose

A Quantum Physics scientist, he worked closely with Albert Einstein on the Bose-Einstein Condensate. The sub-atomic particle, Boson, was named after Bose to pay tribute to his contribution.

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Kamal Ranadive

Known for her contribution to cancer research, Kamal set up the first tissue culture lab in the country. She also worked to uproot malnutrition in tribal women and children. And, made scientific research more accessible for women. 

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Homi J. Bhabha

Father of the Indian Nuclear Programme. He laid the groundwork for nuclear research in India. He suggested building an atomic reactor to produce power and alleviate poverty in the country.

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Jagadish Chandra Bose

Demonstrated wireless communication for the first time. He invented the crescograph, which measures the growth and responses of plants to stimuli to prove that plants can feel pain and understand affection.

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Asima Chatterjee

The second woman to earn a doctorate from an Indian university. She developed anti-epileptic and anti-malarial drugs. Her study on the Madagascar periwinkle plant led to advancements in chemotherapy.

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S Chandrashekhar

Won the Nobel Prize for his mathematical theory on black holes. He is most celebrated for his work on the radiation of energy from stars. The Chandrasekhar limit, named after him, defines the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star.

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M Visvesvaraya

A notable engineer; he is known worldwide for his ‘automatic sluice gates’ and the ‘block irrigation system’. He also created an efficient way of filtering water through ‘Collector Wells’. He was responsible for building dams across the country.

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Venkatraman Radhakrishnan

A member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He designed ultralight aircraft and sailboats. His work led to the understanding of galaxy structures, interstellar clouds, pulsars, and various other celestial bodies.

Janaki Ammal

The first Indian Scientist to receive the Padma Shri Award. She is known for her studies on sugarcane and eggplant. Her work helped improve the sweetness of India’s sugarcane varieties. She also pursued scientific research in cytogenetics.

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Meghnad Saha

Developed the 'Saha equation' to study the physical and chemical state of stars. He also invented an instrument to measure the weight and pressure of solar rays. Fun fact: He was the chief architect of river planning in India and prepared the original plan for the Damodar Valley Project. 

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APJ Abdul Kalam

The ‘Missle Man of India’. At ISRO, Kalam worked on India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle which launched the Rohini satellite in near-Earth’s orbit. His career began by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, and he went on to serve as the president of India and inspired millions.

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