Top 18 Famous Indian Scientists That You Should Know

Top 18 Famous Indian Scientists That You Should Know

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To celebrate scientists and scientific advancements, we have collected a list of the most famous Indian scientists that will inspire us for the greater good.

India is a beautiful country, but do you know that it’s home to some of the world’s best minds whose ideas have revolutionized science? These scientists have improved medical treatments, launched satellite technology, and more. 

This article will take you through the lives and works of 18 famous Indian scientists, such as the Nobel Laureate, C.V. Raman. We provide information approved by the Nobel Prize and several top publications. So put your reading cap on, and let’s roll!

Famous Indian Scientists

#18. Salim Ali (1896-1987): The Birdman of India

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Reader's Digest 
Credits: Reader’s Digest 

What makes Salim Ali famous?

Salim Ali, the father of Indian ornithology, was born in 1896 in Bombay. 

He is known for popularizing ornithology in India through his writing and teaching. One of his famous works, the Handbook of Birds in India and Pakistan (with Sidney Dillon Ripley), remains an essential reference for anyone who wants to learn more about Indian birds.

Salim Ali won two of India’s highest civilian awards: the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.

[Source: SACON]

#17. Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920): The Divine Mathematician 

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: ThoughtCo
Credits: ThoughtCo

What makes Srinivasa Ramanujan famous?

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him before. If you haven’t, it’s time to get up to speed on the mathematical genius who forever changed our understanding of numbers.

He was a brilliant mathematician born in Erode, India, in 1887. Ramanujan is best known for compiling about 3900 mathematical identities, equations, and theorems. 

His work shaped many areas of mathematics—including infinite series, continued fractions, and number theory.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#16. Homi Jehangir Bhabha (1909-1966): Father of the Indian Nuclear Programme

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Jagran Josh
Credits: Jagran Josh

What makes Homi Jehangir Bhabha famous?

Homi Jehangir Bhabha, born in Bombay, is best known for his theory on point particles. He also developed the Bhabha scattering in quantum electrodynamics. 

But his work on India’s nuclear program is the most famous. He helped set up this program and played a crucial role in its growth. 

He also contributed to the study of  Cascade radiations. His work earned him three Nobel nominations, but he didn’t win this prestigious prize.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#15. Satyendra Nath Bose (1894-1974): The Father of Quantum Statistics 

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: India Times
Credits: India Times

What makes Satyendra Nath Bose famous?

Satyendra Nath Bose’s most notable contribution to quantum mechanics is his work on Bose statistics which helped him study particle interactions. He contributed significantly to classical statistical mechanics, quantum statistics, and solid-state physics.

Bose provided the groundwork for the development of the Einstein-Bose condensate by Albert Einstein. This unusual state is formed when a gas of ultracold atoms cools to extremely low temperatures. In this state, individual atoms behave as waves. 

In 1954, he received the Padma Vibhushan—the second highest civilian award in India—for his contributions to science and technology.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#14. A.P.J Abdul Kalam (1931-2015): The Missile Man of India

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Encyclopedia Britannica 
Credits: Encyclopedia Britannica 

What makes A.P.J. Abdul Kalam famous?

When you think of India’s space program, one name is almost always associated with it: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. This Indian aerospace scientist was born in Tamil Nadu and became one of India’s most prolific scientists ever.

As a scientist, he contributed to India’s Missile development efforts and the Civilian space program. He was also at the forefront during India’s shift to new technologies involving launch vehicles and ballistic missile systems.

Abdul Kalam was an active scientist for 40 years before turning to politics. He served as India’s 11th president from 2002-2007. He received numerous honors throughout his career, including the Bharat Ratna—India’s highest civilian award—which he received in 1997.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#13. S.S Abhyankar (1930-2012): Indian Scientist Who Shaped Algebraic Geometry 

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Times of India 
Credits: Times of India 

What makes Srinivasa Subrahmanyan Abhyankar famous?

Srinivasa Subrahmanyan Abhyankar may not be a household name, but his contributions to algebraic geometry are fundamental.

He contributed to many areas of algebraic geometry by developing Abhyankar’s conjecture and Abhyankar’s lemma. These are essential in understanding geometry. 

He also co-developed the Abhyankar-Moh theorem in math with Tzuong-Tsieng Moh. Abhyankar taught industrial engineering, computer science, and mathematics at Purdue University.

[Source: Mac Tutor]

#12. Birbal Sahni (1891-1949): India’s Father of The Study of Plant Fossils

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Different Truths
Credits: Different Truths

What makes Birbal Sahni famous?

Look no further than Birbal Sahni if you want a plant expert whose work can help you study plant evolution. He was born in 1891 and studied plant fossils in India. He was an expert in paleobotany, the study of ancient plants.

Sahni also pioneered new techniques for studying these fossils, such as using carbon dating to determine their age. This helped him to understand the plant life of the Indian subcontinent.

[Source: International Organization of Paleobotany]

#11. Aryabhata (476 CE-550 CE): The Genius Indian Mathematician Who Invented Zero

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: The Famous People 
Credits: The Famous People 

What makes Aryabhata famous?

Aryabhata was an astronomer and mathematician best known as the first person to correctly calculate the value of pi to four decimal places—an extremely accurate number still used today.

He influenced Islamic Golden Age through his works on trigonometry and sine tables. Aryabhata also provided explanations of the moon’s luminosity.

Aryabhata explained how a star’s luminosity was related to its size, which helped astronomers better understand these objects.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#10. Bhāskara II (1114AD-1185 AD): India’s Greatest Mathematician of Medieval Times

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: The Economic Times
Credits: The Economic Times

What makes Bhāskara II famous?

Bhāskara II is a name that’s so common in Math.  Ever heard of this name? 

If not, don’t be embarrassed! Bhāskara II was a genius mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer who lived in India. His contributions to mathematics are still helpful today—you can even learn about them at the university you’re currently attending!

Bhāskara II is best known for providing the foundation for several branches of mathematics, including trigonometry and algebra. He also proved the Pythagoras theorem and introduced zero to math by highlighting its properties.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#9. Har Gobind Khorana (1922-2011): The First Scientist To Synthesize An Artificial Gene

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: The New York Times 
Credits: The New York Times 

What makes Har Gobind Khorana famous?

Har Gobind Khorana, born in Raipur, was a biochemist who discovered the order that nucleotides occur in nucleic acids. This research earned him a Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1968, making him one of the most famous scientists in history.

Khorana also won many other awards for his work, including the National Medal of Science and Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize. His contributions to the field of biochemistry and molecular biology shaped our understanding of the genetic code-carrying proteins. 

[Source: The Nobel Prize]

#8. Jayant Narlikar (1938-present): One of India’s Greatest Astrophysicists

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Punekar News
Credits: Punekar News

What makes Jayant Narlikar famous?

Jayant Narlikar, a renowned astrophysicist and one of India’s most prominent names in science, has been making waves with his groundbreaking research.

His famous work was with Sir Fred Hole, where they synthesized Einstein’s theory of relativity and Mach’s principle into the Hole-Narlikar theory. This resulted in a new way of looking at space that explains galaxies and why we believe in gravity.

[Source: Robolab Technologies]

#7. Meghnad Saha (1893-1956): Father of Modern Astrophysics 

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Oneindia
Credits: Oneindia

What makes Meghnad Saha famous?

Meghnad Saha was an astrophysicist who made some enormous contributions to astronomy.  He came up with an equation allowing astronomers to estimate stars’ characteristics. 

This Saha Ionization equation allows astronomers to classify spectral stars according to their chemical and physical conditions. His work helps us understand stars and how they function.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

https://youtu.be/rNZNojgsgfU]

#6. Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937): The Father of Radio and Microwave Optics

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: DNA  
Credits: DNA  

What makes Jagadish Chandra Bose famous?

Jagadish Chandra Bose was born in 1858 in British India. He was the Indian physicist who pioneered the study of radio and microwave optics. 

Bose also laid the groundwork for many other industries, including telecommunications, aviation, and medicine.

He also created a device (crescograph) that could measure plant growth, which helped botanists all over the globe.

What’s the best Jagadish Chandra Bose quote?

“The true laboratory is the mind, where behind illusions we uncover the laws of truth.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#5. Raj Reddy (1937-present): A Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: CMU
Credits: CMU

What makes Raj Reddy famous?

Raj Reddy is a computer scientist widely regarded as one of the fathers of artificial intelligence. 

Reddy is best known for pioneering research in the field of artificial intelligence. Many have praised his work as one of the most significant developments in AI history.

In particular, his work has led to the development of the first fully-autonomous robot capable of performing tasks without human interaction. This breakthrough has paved the way for other researchers to develop robots that we can train using machine learning techniques.

Raj Reddy is the first Asian winner of the Turing Award (1994) for his contributions to computer science.

What’s the best Raj Reddy quote?

“Knowledge has an important property. When you give it away, you don’t lose it.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#4. Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013): The Human Computer

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: Wikimedia Commons
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

What makes Shakuntala Devi famous?

Shakuntala Devi, a mathematician from India, is known for her talent in mathematics. She is also famous for being featured in The Guinness Book of World Records for solving math involving large numbers.

Devi amazed the world when she calculated the cube root of a 201-digit number in just 50 seconds! This feat earned her the administration of many people.

Her ability to calculate so quickly was not only impressive but also unusual. In addition to finding solutions to complex mathematical problems, she pioneered studying homosexuality in India.

What’s the best Shakuntala Devi quote?

“Numbers have life; they’re not just symbols on paper.”

[Source: Business Insider India]

#3. M.S. Swaminathan (1925-present): The Father of Economic Ecology

Famous Indian Scientists : redits: The Economic Times
Credits: The Economic Times

What makes M.S. Swaminathan famous?

M.S. Swaminathan was an agricultural scientist born in 1925 in Kumbakonam, India. He became one of India’s most important agricultural leaders, helping to pioneer the Green Revolution. He introduced high-yielding rice, potatoes, and wheat varieties to India. 

Swaminathan also coined the “Evergreen Revolution” in 1990 after recognizing that India could achieve self-sufficiency in food production by combining high-yielding seeds with modern farming techniques.

He won the 1987 World Food Prize for his work on developing hybrid plant varieties, which has helped millions of people worldwide live better lives. 

What’s the best M.S. Swaminathan quote?

“If conservation of the natural resources goes wrong, nothing else will go right.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#2. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995): Indian Nobel Laureate 

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: The Famous People 
Credits: The Famous People 

What makes Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar famous?

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was a brilliant astrophysicist who studied stars and their structure, including how they evolve. His work earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983. Chandrasekhar’s work contributed to our understanding of black holes and white dwarfs, among other things.

One of his most famous discoveries is that white dwarf stars have an upper limit on how large they can become. This limit is named after him—the Chandrasekhar limit.

What’s the best Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar quote?

“Science is a perception of the world around us. Science is a place where what you find in nature pleases you.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#1. C.V. Raman (1888-1970): The First Asian To Win The Nobel Prize in A Scientific Field

Famous Indian Scientists : Credits: New Scientist 
Credits: New Scientist 

What makes C.V. Raman famous?

Born in 1888 in Trichy, India, C. V. Raman was a scientist known for his study of light.

While conducting his experiments, Raman discovered a phenomenon called “modified scattering.” This light scattering type is known as the Raman scattering (or Raman effect). And it earned him a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.

 What’s the best C.V. Raman quote?

“I am the master of my failure…If I never fail how will I learn?”

[Source: The Nobel Prize]

Final Thoughts

The life of a scientist requires constant experimentation, exploration, and innovation. In the world of science, many of the greatest minds have emerged from India.

But it’s not a surprise. India has a long history of innovation and science. From mathematics to astronomy and physics, from medicine to computer science. Indian scientists are the developers of modern technology. Their inventions and discoveries have changed the way we live.

What did you think of this list? Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below.


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Joannah W.
Joannah has been a science publisher with close to 20 years of experience. She wants to help students and researchers stay ahead of the trends and developments in the science community by making science more accessible to everyone.

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