Modern science in Bengal: Cultivation and early accomplishments

Rajesh Kochhar

Inaugural Address at National Seminar on ‘Scientists who Dared and made the Difference’, Asiatic Society, Kolkata, 3 March 2015


Bengal placed India on the world map of modern science. In the 1890s, J.C. Bose (1858–1937) and P.C. Ray (1861-1944) became India’s  (and the Non-West’s) first internationally recognized modern scientists. In the 1920s, Nobel prize-level  theoretical physics research were carried out by M.N. Saha (1893-1956) and by Satyen Bose (1894-1974). Finally, in 1930, C. V. Raman  (1888-1970) received the physics Nobel prize which was the first one to go out of  Europe and America.

Normally, an activity begins modestly, rises slowly and stabilizes at a high level. In contrast, India began at the top and had no place to go except down. The down-hill journey has been steady and without the benefit of a plateau even at intermediate heights.

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