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Satyendranath Bose

1894 - 1974

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Satyendra Nath Bose was an Indian polymath, best known for his Physics work with Einstein, and after whom the boson is named.

  • Nationality
  • Indian

  • Subject
  • Physics

  • Fields
  • Quantum Mechanics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Minerology, Philosophy

  • Distinctions
  • Padma Vibhushan, 1954, India's second highest civilian award.

    The class of particles 'boson' is named in his honour (by Paul Dirac).

    Despite the importance of his work, and recognition in the scientific community, and that several Nobels were awarded to researchers utilising his ideas and methods, he himself was not awarded the Nobel Prize.

    He held the honorary rank of National Professor of India, from 1959.

    S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta, established in 1986.

  • Posts
  • Lecturer in the Physics Department, University of Calcutta, 1916 - 1921.

    Bose was involved in setting up the University of Dhaka, today in Bangladesh, and was a lecturer in Physics there.

    After Einstein's championing of his 1924 paper on Planck's Quantum Radiation Law, Bose was able to work in Europe, in laboratories alongside Louis de Broglie, Marie Curie and Einstein, 1924-26.

    With Einstein's personal recommendation, Bose was able to take up a post as professor, despite not having a doctorate, at Dhaka University, 1926. He became dean of the Faculty of Science till 1945, when, at the time of the Partition, he returned to Calcutta, where he taught till 1956.

    President of the Indian Physical Society and the National Institute of Science, General President of the Indian Science Congress, and President of the Indian Statistical Institute.

    Fellow of the Royal Society.

  • Publications
  • Bose was involved in the first translations of Einstein's Special and General Relativity papers in English, 1919. Bose was fluent in at least five languages. Bose was involved in the promotion of Bengali as a teaching language, and translated scientific papers.

    Bose, often in association with the astrophysicist Meghnad Saha, published papers in theoretical physics and pure mathematics, from 1918 till his death.

    Plancks Gesetz und Lichtquantenhypothese. Bose wrote a seminal paper on Planck's Quantum Radiation Law, 1924. He could not get the paper accepted by the British journal Philosophical Magazine, so sent it to Albert Einstein, in Germany, who championed it, translated it into German himself, and submitted it to the Zeitschrift für Physik.

  • Theories
  • Bose-Einstein statistics, a then radical quantum mechanical explanation of probabilities of states.

    Bose-Einstein condensate, a new phase of matter, and which predicted the existence of bosons, proven by experiment in 1995.

    Bose-Einstein correlations

    Bose-Einstein distribution

    Bose gas


    Ideal Bose state equation

    Photon gas

  • Equations
  • Equation of State for Real Gases, with Maghnad Saha.

  • Experiments/Discoveries
  • Bose set up research facilities at the Dahaka University, and turned it into a centre of research for X-ray and optical spectroscopy and diffraction, magnetism, wireless.

Bose was a polymath, who made contributions to a broad number of fields. His name is used in many physics theories, often alongside Einstein's. Bose was very much at the transition point between the old and the new quantum mechanics, joining the school of Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Born, Dirac, and Einstein.

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