India’s missed Nobel prizes

Jagadish Chandra Bose 1926.jpg
Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose

Door bell rang. Gunpowder got ignited. And no one was around! It was the year of 1894 in Kolkata. First time in human history, millimeter length microwaves (milliwave!) worked.

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose tamed the ‘invisible light’ and put it to work. This was the pioneering work in radio-technology.

He in fact used semi conductor junctions, putting him at least half a century ahead of his time.

Satyendranath Bose

“Although seven Nobel Prizes were awarded for research related to S N Bose’s concepts of the boson, Bose–Einstein statistics and Bose–Einstein condensate, Bose himself was not awarded a Nobel Prize.”

Satyendranath Bose from Kolkata, taught himself German to understand the new world of Physics. He along with his friend Meghnad Saha visited a German Priest to learn the language.

Bose – Einstein statistics (or Bose Statistics) was only one of his fundamental contributions to physics. And of-course he remains the ‘bose’ of the boson.

Dr. Meghnad Saha

How stars burn? Ask Meghnad Saha.

Saha ionization equation is the key foundational tool to encapsulate chemical and physical conditions of stars. They are pretty much the starting point in astrophysics and astrochemistry.

Saha was nominated for Nobel prize several times, but could never win it.

Upendranath Brahmachari.jpg
Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari

Upendranath Brahmachari, was uneasy in Calcutta. Thousands were dying all over the country side from this curious ailment called ‘Kala-azar’. It is turning out to be an epidemic of ‘black-death’ proportion.

Hence Urea Stebamine was invented. It saved the lives of thousands of Indians. Anything of similar stature in Europe would have garnered a Nobel prize (white lives matter!). In the pre-antibiotic era, only a few ‘scientific medicines’ existed and Brahmachari’s invention was one of them.

He was unsuccessfully nominated for Nobel Prize in 1929.

Image result for subhash mukhopadhyay
Dr. Subhash Mukherjee

Durga was born on 1978 in Calcutta. The second baby born out of in-vitro fertilization in the world. Thanks to Dr. Subhash Mukhapadhyay from Calcutta Medical College.

This was only 68 days after first IVF in Britain. Mukherjee did not receive any recognition in his lifetime.

Dr Sambhu Nath De (Source: Indian Academy of Science)
Dr. Shambhunath De

Cholera claimed more than million lives in the last two centuries. Dr. Sambhu Nath De, of Nilratan Medical College, Kolkata, found the incredibly simple oral rehydration therapy to tame this beast. It saved lives of thousands if not hundreds of thousands.

Oral Rehydration Therapy was a direct outcome of Dr. De’s work on Cholera toxin. Nobel laureate Prof. Joshua Lederberg had nominated De for the Nobel Prize more than once. He never won one.

In 1978, the Nobel Foundation invited De to participate in the 43rd Nobel Symposium on Cholera and Related Diarrhoeas.


  1. millimeter length microwave is probably a contradiction in terms, milliwave would work better in my opinion. 🙂 Also, at least we should stop calling it Bose-Einstein statistics and start calling it Bose statistics. Translating into german and adding footnotes does not make “the poster boy of physics” a codiscoverer.

    Liked by 1 person

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