While physicists all over the world are colliding champagne glasses (for a change!) over the 'almost' certain discovery of the Higgs Boson, many are starting to wonder who is the guy after whom the God particle has been named! Well, there are two guys in question here; one is the British physicist Peter Higgs, and the other is the Indian scientist Satyendra Nath Bose (after whom boson is named). While Mr. Higgs is well-known all over the world and almost every news report is carrying a good description of his life and works, Mr. Bose seems to be missing from the limelight! So here are some details about the man who has done many important pioneering works in quantum mechanics.
WHAT IS A BOSON?
What are the fundamental particles of which the universe is made up of? Atoms? No! This was believed some hundreds of years back and folowing the tremendous research on the subject in the 20th century, it was revealed that there are particles smaller than the atom itself. These fundamental particles are classified into two families - bosons and fermions. Thus, a Boson is one of the two fundamental classes of subatomic particles.
WHO DISCOVERED THE BOSON?
Satyendra Nath Bose laid the foundation work which led to the discovery of the boson. Though he didn't discover the existence of the 'boson' himself, his pioneering work on the matter was so great and exhaustive that it was decided to name this subatomic particle after him.
WHAT ARE BOSE'S OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCIENCE
Bose is best known for his association with Albert Einstein in the 1920s. It all started when he was presenting a lecture at the University of Dhaka on radiation and ultraviolet catastrophe. While explaining the theory to the students, he made a small mistake while applying the theory. Later on, this 'mistake' proved to be a solution in disguise as it gave predictions that were in accordance with the results of experiments. He wrote to Einstein about this and Einstein, who had been presenting the same view till then, agreed with Bose and published papers on the theory. Later on, Bose and Einstein worked together and brought out the Bose-Einstein statistics and the Bose-Einstein condensate.
DID BOSE WIN THE NOBEL PRIZE?
Sadly, though many Nobel prizes have been awarded for research related to bosons, Bose-Einstein statistics and the Bose-Einstein condensate, Bose himself was never considered for the Nobel prize though he was a very strong candidate. It is believed that since his works came at a time when India was under colonial rule, it may have contributed to his exclusion from being a potential candidate for the prize. In fact, there are reports that he was ignored in his own country as well for he was very outspoken and is known to have disagreements with influential leaders.
BOSE'S PERSONAL LIFE
Bose was born in Calcutta in 1894. After having achieved record marks in the M.Sc. Exam in the University of Calcutta (which hasn't been surpassed till date!), he worked as a lecturer in the Universities of Calcutta and Dhaka (in Bangladesh now). He was known to be a polyglot since he had a good knowledge of diverse languages like Bengali, English, French, German and Sanskrit. He was also known to be an esraj player (a musical instrument similar to the violin). The social reformer within him is evident through his pioneering of night schools for working men. In 1954, he was awarded India's second highest civilian awarded (the Padma Vibhushan). He died in 1974.