Indian Scientists - Satyendra Nath Bose
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Indian Scientists> Satyendra Nath Bose
Satyendra Nath Bose
Indian Scientists

Satyendra Nath Bose (Prof S N Bose) was born on I January 1, 1894. Right from his school days he displayed I extraordinary temperament. He was fondly called Satyen I among his friend circle.

His intelligence was visible from his primary school days. He was first in all subjects in his class. Being a brilliant student both at the primary and secondary level, his teachers too were taken in by his personality. One of his teachers in secondary school remarked that in his mathematics paper Satyen deserved 110 out of 100 marks. The reason was obvious. He had also answered correctly the optional questions. Besides, he had solved the problems in number of ways.

After completing his high school education, he joined Kolkata’s (Calcutta’s) Presidency College. Mathematics and Physics were his principal subjects. In 1913, he completed graduation from Kolkata University with a first class first. In college, Meghnad Saha, another acclaimed scientist was his classmate and friend. For their post-graduation, both friends joined the Kolkata University College of Science. In 1915, Bose completed post-graduation In Applied Mathematics with a first class first. At second place was his friend Saha. During their study they came into contact with a German scientist Brule. He had a variety of science books. But they were all in German language. Both friends became fluent in the German language and made a deep study of these science books. This way they Improved upon their knowledge of science.

In 1916, the Vice’Chancellor of Kolkata University, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee appointed Bose and Saha as lecturers of mathematics in the University Science College.

In 1905, Einstein put forth his Theory of Relativity. Kolkata University became the first In India to include this theory in the post-graduate course. Along with Saha, Bose took up the task of translating Einstein’s important research papers published in German for the benefit of the students. Later Kolkata University published this translated version of Bose in book form.

After serving for five years as lecturer at Kolkata University, in 1921 he left for Dhaka (Dacca) as Reader at the Dhaka University. He made some important research there. These research papers were published in various science magazines. This work came to be recognized as Bose Statistics in the science world. At present postgraduate students of physics study this subject.

Before this important paper was published he had sent the manuscript to Einstein, along with a personal letter. In the letter he had written, “I am sending this paper for your views and suggestions. I am very curious to know your views. If you find this paper worth publishing, please publish it in the famous German research journal Zeitschrlft fur physic. I will be grateful to you. Just to remind you that sometime back there was a request from Kolkata University to translate your research paper written in German into English. After getting your permission I had translated that work. I have been reading your write-ups. You’ve been my guide and teacher.”

Bose’s research paper Statistics of Photon was translated into German by Einstein. Einstein then sent it to the editor of the magazine. Einstein had made a personal note that the paper presents a realistic picture of the subject. Later It became an Important part of physics all over the world.

In 1924, on the basis of his research work. Book study leave and went abroad. In Paris, he conducted research at Madame Curie’s laboratory. From Paris, he went to Berlin and met Einstein. Bose’s work on Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of light quanta was generalized by Einstein and is now known as Bose-Einstein statistics. During his Europe tour he also came in contact with Louis de Broglie and Max Born. He came to be recognized on the world science scene. After he went to Europe to study, a new post of Professor of physics was created at Dhaka University. Friends and colleagues had urged him to send an application for the post. But a doctorate degree was necessary for this post, which he did not possess. Friends advised him to get a certificate from Einstein if it was possible. Initially he was reluctant, but eventually told this matter to Einstein. Einstein found it I strange. He said, “Are not your published research papers enough?” But how would Einstein know about India’s condition? After completing his two years of study, Bose returned to India. He was then promoted as professor. Better late than never, his work was recognized. Some time after his promotion, Sir C V Raman’s student K S Krishnan came over from Kolkata to join as Reader is his department at Dhaka University. He was the same Krishnan who became the first director of the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi, which was set up after Independence.

Once again Bose got an opportunity to return to Kolkata. He was appointed as professor of physics at Kolkata University. He stayed there till his retirement in 1956.

After his retirement, in 1958, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London. It was a l*tt honour bestowed on him. It is said that in 1955-56 when Prof Dirac visited India, he met Bose In Kolkata. He was quite surprised to know that Bose was not a Bellow of the Royal Society. It is believed that Dirac was Instrumental In getting Bose elected as Fellow of the Royal Society.

Two years after retirement, that Is till 1958, Bose was Member of the Rajya Sabha. Besides, he was also Chancellor of Vishwa Bharatl University, Kolkata. Later, the Government of India appointed him as national professor.

Presently, two kinds of statistics are used to study the behaviour of particles; the particles which follow Bose statistics are known as ‘boson’ and the particles which follow Fermi statistics are known as ‘fermions’. Boson is a subatomic particle with integral spin (i.e. with angular momentum in quantum-mechanical units of 0, 1, etc.) that Is governed by the Bose-Einstein statistics. Bosons include mesons (e.g. pions and kaons), nuclei of even mass number (e.g. helium-4) and the particles required to embody the fields of quantum field theory (e.g. photons and gluons). Bosons differ significantly from a group of subatomic particles known as fermions in that there is no limit to the number that can occupy the same quantum state. This behaviour gives rise, for example, to the remarkable properties of helium-4 when it is cooled to become a superfluid.

Bose was a great theoretical scientist. Besides physics, he had knowledge of mineralogy, archaeology, philosophy and chemistry. In 1944, Bose was chosen as president of the Indian Science Congress. In 1954, the Government of India conferred on him the Padma Vibhushan. Bose had an unflinching love towards science, but he also loved literature. He enjoyed writing and reading poems. He had translated poems from Flrench, Hebrew besides other languages Into Bengali. He believed strongly that unless science, is translated into our mother tongue, its spread is not possible. He made all attempts in this direction He had started a magazine in Bengali named Know your This great Indian mathematician and physicist died on February 4, 1974, at the ripe old age of 80. He would be always remembered for his work with Einstein in quantum statistics.