Satyendra Nath Bose was an Indian physicist specializing in mathematical physics. Bose is well known for his work on quantum mathematics in the early 1920s which provided the foundation for the Bose-Einstein statistics and the theory of Bose-Einstein condensate. A Padma Vibhushan awardee, Bose was one of the greatest scientists of India.
Career of SN Bose:
From the year 1916 to 1921, Satyendra Nath Bose was a lecturer in the physics department of the University of Calcutta. Along with Saha, Bose prepared the first book in English based on from German and French translations of original papers on Einstein’s special and general relativity in the year 1919. In the year 1921, he joined as the Reader in the department of Physics of the then recently founded University of Dhaka by the then Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee. Bose then set up whole new departments, including laboratories to teach advance courses for M. Sc and B. Sc honors and taught Thermodynamics as well as Maxwell’s Theory of Electromagnetism.
Bose and Saha together presented several papers in theoretical physics and pure mathematics from 1918 onwards. In the year 1924, while working as a reader in Physics department of the Dhaka University, Bose wrote a paper deriving Planck’s quantum radiation law without any reference to classical physics and using a novel way of counting states with identical quantum statistics. Though the paper was not accepted at once for publication, Bose sent the article directly to Albert Einstein in Germany. Einstein recognizing the importance of the paper translated it to German and submitted it on Bose’s behalf to the prestigious ‘Zeitschrift fur Physik’. As a result of this, Bose was able to work for two years in European X-ray and crystallography laboratories during which he worked with Louis de Broglie, Marie Curie and Einstein. Einstein adopted Bose’s idea and extended it to atoms; this led to the prediction of the existence of phenomena which later came to be known as the Bose-Einstein condensate, a dense collection of bosoms which was later demonstrated to exist by experiment in the year 1995. Although more than one Nobel Prize was awarded for research related to the concepts of the boson, Bose-Einstein statistics and Bose- Einstein condensate, the latest being the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics which was given for advancing the theory of Bose-Einstein condensates. Bose though himself was not awarded the Nobel Prize.
Bose then returned to Dhaka in the year 1926. He was then made head of the department of physics and continued teaching and guiding in the Dhaka University. He also designed equipments himself for an X-ray crystallography laboratory. He also set up laboratories and libraries to make the department a center for research in X-ray studies. He also published an equation of state for real gases with Megh Nad Saha. Bose was also the dean of the faculty of science in Dhaka University till the year 1945. When the partition of India became fixed, he returned to Calcutta and took up the prestigious Khaira chair and taught at the Calcutta University until the year 1956. He also insisted every student to design his own equipment using local materials and local technicians. He was made professor emeritus upon his retirement. Bose later then became the vice Chancellor of Visva-Bharati University in Shanti Niketan. He returned to Calcutta University to continue research in nuclear physics and complete earlier works in organic chemistry. During the following years, he worked in applied research such as extraction of helium in hot springs of Bakreswar.
Bose also became an advisor to the then newly formed Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. He was also elected General President of the Indian Science Congress. He was also the vice president and then the president of the Indian Statistical Institute. In the year 1958, he became a fellow of the Royal Society. Bose was also nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha. Apart from physics, Bose also did some research in biotechnology and literature. He also made deep studies in chemistry, geology, zoology, anthropology, engineering and other sciences. Being a Bengali, Satyendra Nath Bose devoted a lot of time promoting Bengali as a teaching language, translating scientific papers into it and promoting the development of the region. Bose died on 4th February 1974 in Calcutta.
Honors and recognitions of SN Bose:
In the year 1937, Rabindra Nath Tagore dedicated his only book on science ‘Visva-Parichay’ to Satyendra Nath Bose. He was honored with India’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan in the year 1954 by the Indian Government. In the year 1959, he was appointed as the national Professor, the highest honorary in the country as a scholar which he held for 15 years. In the year 1986, S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences was established by an Act of Parliament, Government of India, in Salt Lake, Calcutta in honor of this world renowned Indian scientist.
(FAN OF Shri SATYENDRA NATH BOSE)
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