Physicists in India after Independence: Essay

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India, a land full of innate natural resources, a source of spirituality, knowledge, and inventions, is one of the oldest civilizations in the world dating all the way back to the Paleolithic age. India individually has contributed most to human civilization and because of her opulence, India was known as the 'Golden Sparrow' to the rest of the world. Starting from the dawn of civilization till today, date India has always been in a leadership position in various aspects and fields. Although India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history, this land was attacked and invaded by different invader groups over 200 times. The reason behind that is to extort people, occupy the fertile lands, and loot resources from this subcontinent. The last invader of this subcontinent was the British Empire. The British ruled here approximately for 200 years, starting from 1757 when the British East India Company decisively won the political authority at the ‘Battle of Palashi’. Significant movements, extreme sacrifices of the martyrs, the integrity of the people living here, and their devotion to this land forced British rulers to leave the country. Finally, India got independence on August 15, 1947. Independence circulated the vigor and passion within every Indian to grow as individuals as well as in collective existence. Thus, India contributed a lot to every possible field before independence and even after independence. Now the question is, how independence is the vital factor in this work dignity, as well as in the application of new ideas?

Let us take a case study. The Pi constant has always been a suspense to all math lovers, and a common type of competition seen among students is to memorize the maximum number of digits of Pi. But do we know who first calculated the digits of Pi? If we simply google it to see who first calculated the value of Pi, Google will show the name of the mathematician Archimedes. But it has enough historical evidence to prove that Budhayana, belonging to this land, first calculated the value of Pi. Also, Budhayana explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean theorem in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians. This is just one example. Starting from Ayurveda, which is the earliest school of medicine known to humans, to the invention of the number system (particularly the zero which was invented by Aryabhatta), in every field of inventions this land was in the pioneer’s role. But in terms of recognition, the scenario is totally opposite. Most of the inventions are entitled in the name of European scientists, although those inventions were done far way before in this land from the date that has been entitled as the official date of invention. Thus, the recognition of the contribution from the side of India in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is thoroughly missing. But what about the field of physics? Is India also deprived in the field of physics too?

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Let us take another case study. Without any second thought, we can say that the most prominent invention or phenomenon of this century on which the modern world is solely dependent is wireless communication. The credit for this invention has been given to Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi in every chapter of science. But have we ever heard about the association of world-famous physicist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose with this invention? There was a long dispute and debate on the inventor’s name of wireless communication. The American organization, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), has proved in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Professor Jagadish C. Bose and not Marconi. Fate was not very different for other legendary Indian physicists namely Meghnad Saha, Satyendra Nath Bose, and G.N. Ramachandran. Thus, almost all the inventions and contributions that had been done by the Indian physicists before independence were mostly unrecognized, and the patent has been given to some other scientists, mostly to the European scientists. Another solid example is the number of Nobel Prize winners in India. Despite such mind-blowing ideas and inventions contributed by Indian scientists, India had only one Nobel Prize winner in the field of physics before independence, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1930). While after independence till today’s date, India has three Nobel Prize winners in the field of physics, chemistry, and medicine. They are Har Gobind Khorana (Physiology or Medicine, 1968), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Physics, 1983), and Venki Ramakrishnan (Chemistry, 2009). Thus, independence brought the necessary recognition and scope to grow in the field of physics for dexterous Indian physicists, on the other hand, it sparked the urge within Indian physicists to develop better, implementing new ideas and thoughts to grow in the field of physics.

In 1948, just after independence, the Atomic Energy Commission of India was established and Dr. Homi J. Bhabha was appointed as the first chairman. In 1954, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was established. The Atomic Energy Commission of India is the governing body of DAE. The objective behind these two organizations was to play a role in national security, promote international collaboration in fields of advanced research and big science projects, and register India’s name in the club of nuclear power countries. Thus in May 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test having the codename 'Smiling Buddha' and emerged as a nuclear power.

In 1962, the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was set up by visionary physicist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who saw a dream to use space technology for the development of India. On August 15, 1969, INCOSPAR was converted to ISRO. ISRO built India's first satellite 'Aryabhatta' which was launched on 19th April 1975. In 2013, India became the first nation to succeed in its maiden attempt to land on Mars, better known as 'Mangalyaan'.

These were just the rough sketch of developments that India made in post-independence times in the field of pure and applied physics. Independence has definitely helped to flourish in work and unveiled scopes as well as freedom for the application of new ideas for Indian physicists.

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Physicists in India after Independence: Essay. (2023, November 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
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