A Legend was Born!

| February 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

22 February 1928 (Wednesday) | AJMER | INDIA

On 22 February 1928 – entire country was observing Hartal (Strike) after the seven member  Simon Commission reached to Bombay (now Mumbai) on February 3, 1928. [1] The local police force was assaulting and beating the people, who were greeting the Commission with black flag. This was the day when a conference of the representatives of all the political parties, called on 12th February for drawing up a constitution acceptable to all the parties, was being concluded at Delhi. [2]; and Mahatma Gandhi was writing a letter to Henry Neil of France stating that the millions of children of India were starving for want of nourishment and want of sufficient clothing under the British rules! [3].

This was the time, when entire nation was disturbed, agitated, unstable and feeling insecure. In this atmosphere, on this historical day of 22 February of 1928, a child was born in the Ajmer city of Rajasthan of India to Dr. Ram Chandra Bhargava, a Medical Health Officer and Gayatri Devi Bhargava. While the nation was struggling to decide the future for its citizens through constitutional reforms, the destiny had already decided the future of BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES OF INDIA. The “Architect of Modern Biology of India” was born! He was none other than PM Bhargava.

PM Bhargava: A Genius

When PM Bhargava was almost 9 year old, the family moved to Banaras in early 1938. Until the age of nine, Bhargava was home tutored by his grandfather, who was was a retired maths teacher and a Theosophist. At the age of nine, he was directly taken to class 9th at the Annie Besant Theosophical School in Kamachcha, Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, India. He did his high school in 1940. He then moved to Queens College, Banaras, to do his intermediate. In 1942, after his intermediate, the family moved to Lucknow and Bhargava joined the University for his B.Sc. taking physics, chemistry and maths. He obtained his M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry in 1946 and his Ph.D. degree in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the Lucknow University in 1949 at the age of twenty one. By the age of twenty, Bhargava had published six research papers in the most reputed Indian Journal of the Indian Chemical Society. [4]

The story of a Genius has began to settle its affairs.

22 February: The day in History

Legendary Scientists born on 22 February

J. Michael Bishop

John Michael Bishop is an American virologist who shared (with co-worker Harold Varmus) of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1989 for achievements in clarifying the cellular origins of retroviral oncogenes associated with cancer. They showed that normal genes under certain circumstances can cause cancer, and this new insight profoundly changed the understanding of cancer. When retroviridae introduce genes into the DNA of host cells, normal cell growth, division or differentiation results in mutations creating cancer genes, known as oncogenes. Such oncogenes can then become part of the host’s own DNA. [5]

Renato Dulbecco

Italian virologist who shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1975 (with Howard M. Temin and David Baltimore, both of whom had studied under him) for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.

Frank Plumpton Ramse

English mathematician, logician and philosopher who died at age 26, but had already made significant contributions to logic, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language and decision theory. He remains noted for his Ramsey Theory, a mathematical study of combinatorial objects in which a certain degree of order must occur as the scale of the object becomes large. This theory spans various fields of mathematics, including combinatorics, geometry, and number theory. His papers show he was also a remarkably creative and subtle philosopher. Other gifted thinkers of his generation were Russell, Whitehead, Keynes, Moore, and Wittgenstein

Fritz Strassmann

Friedrich Wilhelm (Fritz) Strassmann was a German physical chemist who, with Otto Hahn and Lise Mietner, discovered neutron-induced nuclear fission in uranium (1938) and thereby opened the field of atomic energy used both in the atomic bomb for war and in nuclear reactors to produce electricity. Strassmann’s analytical chemistry techniques showed up the lighter elements produced from neutron bombardment, which were the result of the splitting of the uranium atom into two lighter atoms. Earlier in his career, Strassmann codeveloped the rubidium-strontium technique of radio-dating geological samples.

Paul Kollsman

German-American engineer who invented the world’s first accurate barometric altimeter (1928) that became vital to aviation safety. The original barometric altimeter was a simple instrument which displayed altitude by sensing barometric pressure, within an accuracy of 20 feet. On 24 Sep 1929, Jimmy Doolittle’s historic “blind flight” proved that the Kollsman altimeter made navigation possible “flying on the gauges.” The guage was widely known as the “Kollsman Window” because it included a window to dial in a manual setting to calibrate the barometric pressure at the current sea-level. The invention played a major role in establishing routine scheduled air service in the U.S. and around the world.

Johannes Nicolaus Brønste

Danish physical chemist known for a widely applicable acid-base concept identical to that of Thomas Martin Lowry of England. Though both men introduced their definitions simultaneously (1923), they did so independently of each other. Acids are recognized by an excess of H+ ions, and bases have an excess of OH- ions. Brønsted was also an authority on the catalytic properties and strengths of acids and bases. His chief interest was thermodynamic studies, but he also did important work with electrolyte solutions.

Heinrich Hertz

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was a German physicist who was the first to broadcast and receive radio waves. He studied under Kirchhoff and Helmholtz in Berlin, and became professor at Bonn in 1889. His main work was on electromagnetic waves (1887). Hertz generated electric waves by means of the oscillatory discharge of a condenser through a loop provided with a spark gap, and then detecting them with a similar type of circuit. Hertz’s condenser was a pair of metal rods, placed end to end with a small gap for a spark between them. Hertz was also the first to discover the photoelectric effect. The unit of frequency – one cycle per second – is named after him. Hertz died of blood poisoning in 1894 at the age of 37.

Pierre Janssen

Pierre-Jules-César Janssen was a French astronomer who in 1868 devised a method for observing solar prominences without an eclipse (an idea reached independently by Englishman Joseph Norman Lockyer). Janssen observed the total Sun eclipse in India (1868). Using a spectroscope, he proved that the solar prominences are gaseous, and identified the chromosphere as a gaseous envelope of the Sun. He noted an unknown yellow spectral line in the Sun in 1868, and told Lockyer (who subsequently recognized it as a new element he named helium, from Greek helios for sun). Janssen was the first to note the granular appearance of the Sun, regularly photographed it, and published a substantial solar atlas with 6000 photographs (1904).

Adolphe Quetelet

Lambert-Adolphe-Jacques Quetelet was a Belgian astronomer, statistician, mathematician and sociologist whose career began teaching mathematics at the Athenaeum, Brussels (1820), while also pursuing the study of astronomy from 1823. Quetelet was instrumental in setting up, and became the director of, a newly equipped Brussels Royal Observatory (opened 1833). From 1825, he began writing papers on social statistics, and in 1835 gained international recognition for publication of Sur l’homme et le developpement de ses facultés, essai d’une physique sociale. Whereas the normal curve had previously been applied to error correction, Quetelet used it to illustrate a distribution of measured human traits about the central value, giving the concept of the average man at the peak. In this way, for example, he applied a statistical view to the nature of criminal behaviour in society.

Jean-Charles-Athanase Peltier

French physicist who discovered the Peltier effect (1834), that at the junction of two dissimilar metals an electric current will produce heat or cold, depending on the direction of current flow. In 1812, Peltier received an inheritance sufficient to retire from clockmaking and pursue a diverse interest in phrenology, anatomy, microscopy and meteorology. Peltier made a thermoelectric thermoscope to measure temperature distribution along a series of thermocouple circuits, from which he discovered the Peltier effect. Lenz succeeded in freezing water by this method. Its importance was not fully recognized until the later thermodynamic work of Kelvin. The effect is now used in devices for measuring temperature and non-compressor cooling units.

Rembrandt Peale

American artist and naturalist, son of Charles Willson Peale, who followed his father as a portrait painter with an interest in natural history. Many of Rembrandt Peale’s portraits are of scientists. He also took an interest in the technology of his era, including the pioneering steam navigation of John Fitch and Robert Fulton, gas lighting of Baltimore’s streets, and the chemistry of pigments. In 1801, he assisted his father’s excavation of mastodon bones from the peat bogs of Orange County, New York, from which they assembled two skeletons. One was mounted in his father’s Philadelphia Museum. Rembrandt displayed another as a travelling exhibit around New York (1802) and London (1802, 1803). From the details of its fossil teeth, he believed the mastodon was a carnivor, though Georges Cuvier shortly established it was a herbivor.

George Washington

Almost 196 years ago, on the day of 22 February 1732, George Washington, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was born in Virginia. George Washington served as the President of United States for two terms. [6]

George Washington was American surveyor, military leader and president who was an eager student of mathematics in his youth, teaching himself geometry and trigonometry. This led to his early career as a surveyor, proficient at drafting, mapmaking, and designing tables of data. Surveying let him explore regions of Virgina, and earn income to be a landowner by age 19. Mathematics courses in early American education included applications in surveying. For example, it was part of state law in Massachusetts (1827) that any locality with 500 families should have a master capable of instructing “geometry, surveying and algebra.” Thus, long before that law, in a less-known aspect of his life, Washington was equipped with a technical education of service to his community—although he is most famous for fighting in the Revolutionary war and becoming the the first President of the U.S.A.

Science events on February 22nd

Trans-Pacific hot air balloon

In 1995, Steve Fossett completed the first hot air balloon flight over Pacific Ocean (9600 km).


In 1946, Dr Selman Abraham Waksman announced his discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin, the first specific antibiotic effective against tuberculosis. In 1943, he had isolated streptomycin from a mold he had known and studied early in his life. For this work, he was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize.

Tallest human

In 1918, the documented world record tallest human, Robert Pershing Wadlow, was born in Alton, Illinois. Shortly after graduating from high school, he was 8-ft 4-in (2.54m) tall. He grew to a final height, shortly before his death, of 8-ft 11.1-in (2.72m). This unique size was attributed to an over active pituary gland, which produced much higher than normal levels of growth hormone. Today’s medical science can compensate for such problems, but in the 1920s there was no therapy available. He died on 15 Jul 1940, at age 22, from a fatal infection which set in due to a blister on his foot, despite emergency surgery and blood transfusions. At the time of his death he weighed 490 pounds. The 1,000-pound casket required a dozen pallbearers, assisted by eight other men.

First English clinical radiology report

In 1896, the first use of clinical radiology in England was reported in The Lancet* by surgeon Sir Robert Jones and the head of Liverpool University’s physics department, Oliver Lodge. A 12-year-old boy, who had shot himself in his wrist the previous month, was examined in Lodge’s laboratory on 7 Feb 1896 at Jones’ request. Merely probing could not locate the bullet. Jones had heard of Röntgen’s discovery of X-rays a few months earlier. Using X-rays, the pellet was identified embedded in the third carpo-metacarpal joint. Jones subsequently financed an X-ray apparatus for his senior assistant who had been with him then, Charles Thurstan Holland, to pioneer radiology at Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool.

Urea synthesis

In 1828, German biochemist Friedrich Wöhler informed Jakob Berzelius that he had synthesized the organic chemical, urea. This was a landmark event, for it was the first time a material previously only associated with the body function of a living thing, was made from inorganic chemicals of non-living origin. In this case, urea had formerly been known only from the urine of animals.


In 1630, popcorn was introduced to the English colonists by an Indian named Quadequina who brought it in deerskin bags as his contribution at their first Thanksgiving dinner. Popcorn is a type of corn with smaller kernels than regular corn, and when heated over a flame, it “pops” into the snack we know it as today. Native Americans were growing it for more than a thousand years before the arrival of European explorers. In 1964, scientists digging in southern Mexico found a small cob of popcorn discovered to be 7,000 years old. Today, the United States grows nearly all of the world’s popcorn.

22 February: The day of Reform of Modern Science

In 1997 – Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut and colleagues announced that an adult sheep had been successfully cloned. Dolly was actually born on July 5, 1996. Dolly was the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cell. [7]

22 February: the day in the history of art

On this day in 2009, Feb. 22nd, 2009 –  Slumdog Millionaire, Indian Bollywood Movie won eight Oscars. Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Simon Beaufoy it is set and filmed in India. It is the story of a man from Bombay who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? It has won eight of its ten Oscar nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Original Song. [8].

The day of 22 February had also made a horror history. The monster man’s horror films that were released on this day included: [9]

The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957
Bride of the Re-Animator 1990
Queen Of The Damned 2002
Madhouse 2004
Cube Zero 2004
Way of the Vampire 2005
The Evil One 2005
Reel Zombies 2009

More detailed account of the day of 22nd February is given in this article on Wikipedia.

22 February: The World Thinking Day

Thinking Day was first created in 1926 at the fourth Girl Guide/Girl Scout International Conference. Conference attendees decided that there should be a special day for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world to “think” of each other and give thanks and appreciation to their “sister” Girl Scouts. The delegates chose February 22 as the date for Thinking Day because it was the mutual birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and his wife, Olave, who served as World Chief Guide.

In 1932, at the seventh World Conference, held in Poland, a Belgian delegate suggested that since birthdays usually involve presents, girls could show their appreciation and friendship on Thinking Day not only by extending warm wishes but by offering a voluntary contribution to the World Association. This is how the World Association’s Thinking Day Fund began. The fund helps offer Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting to more girls and young women worldwide.

An Indian stamp was issued in 1970 for the Diamond jubilee of Girl Guide Movement. [10]


A beautiful Mountain Landscape of Ajmer in 1928: a photograph by Martin Hurliman

Ajmer: a photogravure by Martin Hurliman, 1928


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