It was the test exam of Hindu School before the Entrance Exam. A student not only solved all the problems of mathematics but he also had done all the problems related to geometry in more than one ways. The teacher of mathematics, Upendranath Bakshi being pleased gave him 110 out of 100 marks in that paper. When he was admitted to Presidency College (now, Presidency University), he found his close friend Meghnad Saha and his favourite professors Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray and Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose. One day in the college, a class on Mathematics was going on. Along with his good friend Meghnad Saha, he was sitting back and was discussing some problems with him. Professor found them inattentive and he called him on the board and asked him to solve a problem related to what he was teaching in that class. The student divided the board into 3 blocks suddenly using the chalk and wrote the proof of that problem in 3 different ways in those three different blocks. Then he mentioned that the first one was for the professor, the second one was for the students and the third one was for him & Meghnad. This is SN Bose. The great scientist of all time, about whom Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanbis once said,
” While talking about him, always remember, a scientist of such a stature was never born before in India”.
In 1913 he graduated with the first class first in Applied Mathematics and in 1915 he got the postgraduate degree with the same result in Mixed Mathematics. The most important fact is he got a record number in the exam which is till now the highest marks at Calcutta University.Seeing his marks in M. Sc. his teacher, Prof. D.N. Mallick said to him, “You got such huge marks which are quite odd”. Satyendranath started to dream for his higher studies in foreign but the reality was very hard. All the chemists got the scholarship for foreign studies that year. University didn’t give for the students of Mathematics or Physics. So he started searching for a good job but again he failed. He didn’t get any job or we can say none gave him job intentionally seeing his brilliant result. His father managed for a Railway Service requesting the higher authority of Railway but he was not interested in that. So, finally, one day he got a call along with his friend Meghnad from the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee. He called all the bright students, (Satyen Bose, Menghnad Saha, Sailen Ghosh) who wanted to introduce a new field of science in Calcutta University. He directly asked them, “Will you be able to teach?”. Satyen Bose replied,” Yes sir, we will try our best”. Meghnad Saha was supposed to teach Quantum Theory, Satyen Bose was allotted for Relativity Theory of Einstein. There was no source of a book at that time. They got the book from the prof of Shibpur College Dr. Browl’s personal library but some books of them were in German & French. Meghnad Saha started learning German and translated them into English. Stayendranath started learning French and read other books.
Bose joined Dhaka University in 1921 when it was established in Physics Department as a reader. He started his work there in the Theoretical Physics and X-ray Crystallography. One day while presenting a lecture at the University of Dhaka on the theory of radiation and the ultraviolet catastrophe, Bose intended to show his students that the contemporary theory was inadequate because it predicted results not in accordance with experimental results. To explain that mathematically he did a mistake. In the process of describing this discrepancy, Bose for the first time took the position that the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution would not be true for microscopic particles, where fluctuations due to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle will be significant. Thus he stressed the probability of finding particles in the phase space, each state having volume h^3, and discarding the distinct position and momentum of the particles. He wrote that lecture as an article named ” Planck’s law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta” and published. None admitted him then but he sent his research paper to Einstein. Einstein got his point and published in the German language. That mistake is now known as Bose-Einstein Statistics. Einstein used that theory in atoms and he found condensate which is now known as Bose-Einstein Condensate. This is actually the condensed state of Bosons.
In 1924 he visited Europe and went to Germany to meet Einstein. Then he went to Paris and joined Madame Curie’s lab and then joined De Broglie’s lab. He was the dean of Science Faculty in University of Dhaka and the HoD of Physics Department. This person was not only a great scientist he was a brilliant instrumentalist. He was a genius in playing the Esraj. He was fond of Indian Classical Music and sometimes only to listen to that music he didn’t sleep at night. He was also a lover of literature. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his one and only science book “Viswa-Parichaya” to Satyendranath Bose.
Satyen Bose always loved his mother tongue most and he thought people will learn science in Bengali in Bengal and for that, he published a paper “Vigyan Parichaya”. He was the person who always requested Rabindranath Tagore to write the science book in Bengali. This person was also involved in the freedom movement, he used to help the direct activists like Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray. He gave the world a lot but people couldn’t give him the respect that he actually deserved. He was nominated for Nobel Prize several times for his work but for some unknown reason, he was never awarded though other scientists who worked on his theory from other countries got. Though this discrimination can never touch the level of this big-hearted person who said after knowing that Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his book to him,
“I could never feel this much honored even if I got the Nobel Prize”
Today’s blog is a tribute to this legend on his 127th birth anniversary and this is our first blog of 2021.Wish all the readers a very Happy New Year.
Shubhankar Kundu (Department of Chemical Sciences, IISER Bhopal)
About the Author:
Shubhankar is a fourth-year BS-MS student and a DST-INSPIRE fellow at IISER Bhopal, pursuing a major in Chemistry. Loves writing poems and painting during leisure times. Has a knack for music and loves playing the violin. Also, loves reciting Bengali poems and football. A die-hard fan of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the legendary Indian freedom fighter. Exploring unknown places and photography, these are some other noteworthy hobbies. Associated with the core team of TQR since 2018. He is one of the founding members of The Qrius Rhino.
Find other blogs by the author here.