Response in the Living and Non-living

· A Distant Mirror
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JAGADISH CHANDRA BOSE was born on November 30, 1858, Mymensingh, Bengal, India (now in Bangladesh), and died on November 23, 1937, Giridih, Bihar. His work as both a physiologist and physicist led to the invention of highly sensitive instruments for the detection of minute responses by living organisms to external stimuli. This enabled him to measure the similarities in response between animal and plant tissues noted by many later researchers.
     Bose’s experiments on the quasi-optical properties of very short radio waves led him to make improvements on the coherer, an early form of radio detector, which contributed to the development of solid-state physics.
     After earning a degree from the University of Cambridge (1884), Bose served as professor of physical science (1885–1915) at Presidency College, Calcutta. In 1917, he founded the Bose Institute in Calcutta, which still exists today (www.jcbose.ac.in).
     To facilitate his research, he constructed automatic recorders capable of registering extremely slight movements; these instruments produced some striking results, such as his demonstration of the sense of feeling in plants.
     Bose also found that non-living matter exhibits the same types of response to stimuli as do both animal and plant matter. This demonstration that everything exists in the field of consciousness was one of his most important discoveries.
     Bose was one of the first scientists in the world to undertake interdisciplinary research by looking at plants from the vantage point of physics.
     He subjected plant and animal tissues to various kinds of stimulus, and found that they all showed an electric response. Finding that this reaction occurred in metals as well as plants and animals, he then proceeded to study the differences in response under various conditions.
     He found that all materials are numbed by cold, intoxicated by alcohol, wearied by excessive work, stupefied by anesthetics, excited by electric currents, stung by physical blows, and killed by poison. They all exhibit essentially the same reactions of fatigue and depression, together with the capacity for recovery and strength, and also permanent unresponsiveness, or death. All materials are responsive or unresponsive under the same conditions and in the same manner.
     His investigations showed that in the entire range of responses—regardless of whether the subject is metallic, plant or animal—there are no exceptions. The living response, in all its diverse modifications, is a repetition of the responses seen in the inorganic. Further, the nature of the response is determined not by the play of an unknowable and arbitrary vital force, but by laws that do not change, and act equally and uniformly throughout both organic and inorganic matter.
     This realization was always at the core of his work. He sought to show that all materials react to their environments according to the same laws; in other words, everything exists in the same field of consciousness. Om Namah Shivaya.
     This book was originally published in 1902.
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