Satyendranath Bose

Satyendranath Bose (1894-1974) was an Indian Physicist best known for his role in particle Physics. He was  born in Calcutta; he was the eldest of the 7 children of his father Surendranath Bose. Bose was a specialist in mathematical physics. A fellow of the Royal Society, Bose was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1954, incidentally, the Padma Vibhushan was awarded for the first time in 1954 only.

Bose never received a doctorate nor was he awarded a Nobel Prize. He is largely forgotten and Nobel Committee has recognized all other scientists that did work on the concept, whose historic father was Satyendranath Bose.

Contribution to Indian Science

  • Meghnad Saha was his classmate and J C Bose as his teacher. In 1921, he joined the then newly created Dacca University as Reader in Physics. While teaching, he wrote a paper for deriving the Planck’s Law. His paper was titled ‘Planck’s Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis.
  • In 1900, Max Planck had explained in the theory of black body radiation that light is emitted in discrete amounts (quanta) rather than as a continuous wave. But his derivation of this formula was not satisfactory to other scientists, in fact even to himself. Later, Albert Einstein explained the photoelectric effect based on Planck’s quanta as photons in 1905 in a paper. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for this paper, not for his papers on Relativity!
  • However, many of his colleagues were not fully convinced of his yet-to-be-developed photon theory. Under these circumstances, Bose re-sent the paper to Albert Einstein in June 1924, with a fervent appeal for his perusal. Einstein immediately recognised the significance of this paper. This paper was going to substantiate and revolutionise his theory of photoelectric effect. Einstein himself translated Bose’s paper into German and sent it to Zeitschrift für Physik with his endorsement for publication. With his demigod status, Einstein’s words carried much weight. It was promptly published, and immediately Bose shot into prominence.
  • After this, Einstein personally invited Bose to work with him, and their efforts culminated in the Bose-Einstein statistics, an important and seminal phenomenon in quantum physics. His work was wholeheartedly supported and appreciated by the leading lights in quantum theory, such as Louise de Broglie, Erwin Schroedinger, Paul Dirac and Heisenburg.
  • In honour of Bose’, Paul Dirac coined the word ‘Boson’ for those particles which obey Bose’s statistics. In atomic theory, only Fermions (named after Enrico Fermi) and Bosons were named after physicists.