|Satyendra Nath Bose - The Mind behind the Boson!|
Among all the fuss about Higgs Boson, identity of which is not yet confirmed, it seems everyone has forgotten the Father of Boson, an Indian mathematical physicist who worked with Einstein, Late Satyendra Nath Bose, in fact the Boson (the particle found at CERN yesterday is confirmed a Boson, not yet confirmed as Higgs Boson) owes its name to this long-forgotten hero of Physics, Satyendra Nath Bose.
Bose was born in Calcutta, India, the eldest of seven children. His father, Surendranath Bose, worked in the Engineering Department of the East Indian Railway Company. He married Ushabati at the age of 20.
Being a polyglot (well versed in multiple languages), he was well versed in several languages such as Bengali, English, French, German and Sanskrit as well as poetry of Lord Tennyson, Rabindranath Tagore and Kalidasa. He could also play the esraj, a traditional Indian musical instrument similar to a violin. He was actively involved in running night schools that came to be known as the Working Men's Institute.
In 1937, Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his only book on science, Visva-Parichay, to Satyendra Nath Bose. He was honored with title Padma Vibhushan by the Indian Government in 1954. In 1959, he was appointed as the National Professor, the highest honor in the country for a scholar, which he held for 15 years. In 1986 S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences was established by an act of Parliament, Government of India, in Salt Lake, Calcutta in honour of this world renowned Indian scientist.
Bose became an adviser to then newly formed Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. He was the President of Indian Physical Society and the National Institute of Science. He was elected General President of the Indian Science Congress. He was the Vice President and then President of Indian Statistical Institute. In 1958 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was nominated as member of Rajya Sabha. Apart from physics he did some research in biotechnology and literature (Bengali, English). He made deep studies in chemistry, geology, zoology, anthropology, engineering and other sciences. Being a Bengali, he devoted a lot of time to promoting Bengali as a teaching language, translating scientific papers Bengali, and promoting the development of the region.
Partha Ghose has stated that
Satyendra Nath Bose's Research:Bose’s work stood at the transition between the 'old quantum theory' of Planck, Bohr and Einstein and the new quantum mechanics of Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Born, Dirac and others.
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. During this lecture, Bose committed an error in applying the theory, which unexpectedly gave a prediction that agreed with the experiment (he later adapted this lecture into a short article called Planck's Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta).
The error was a simple mistake—similar to arguing that flipping two fair coins will produce two heads one-third of the time—that would appear obviously wrong to anyone with a basic understanding of statistics. However, the results it predicted agreed with experiment, and Bose realized it might not be a mistake at all. He 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 h3, and discarding the distinct position and momentum of the particles.
He wrote to Albert Einstein
Einstein who presented this view for twenty years agreed with him. Einstein translated the paper to Zeitschrift für Physik in Bose's name under title Planck's Law and Hypothesis of Light Quanta, in 1924.“I have ventured to send you the accompanying article for your perusal and opinion. I am anxious to know what you think of it. You will see that I have tried to deduce the coefficient 8π v2/c3 in Planck’s Law independent of classical electrodynamics, only assuming that the elementary regions in the phase-space has the content h3. I do not know sufficient German to translate the paper. If you think the paper worth publication I shall be grateful if you arrange for its publication in Zeitschrift für Physic. Though a complete stranger to you, I do not feel any hesitation in making such a request. Because we are all your pupils though profiting only by your teachings through your writings. I do not know whether you still remember that somebody from Calcutta asked your permission to translate your papers on Relativity in English. You acceded to the request. The book has since published. I was the one who translated your paper on Generalised Relativity.”
The reason Bose's "mistake" produced accurate results was that since photons are indistinguishable from each other, one cannot treat any two photons having equal energy as being two distinct identifiable photons. By analogy, if in an alternate universe coins were to behave like photons and other bosons, the probability of producing two heads would indeed be one-third (tail-head = head-tail). Bose's "error" is now called Bose–Einstein statistics. This result derived by Bose laid the foundation of quantum statistics, as acknowledged by Einstein and Dirac.
|rubidium atoms, confirming the discovery of a new phase of matter, the Bose–Einstein condensate. Left: just before the appearance of a Bose–Einstein condensate. Center: just after the appearance of the condensate. Right: after further evaporation, leaving a sample of nearly pure condensate.|
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 himself was not awarded the Nobel Prize.
In his book, The Scientific Edge, the noted physicist Jayant Narlikar observed:
Despite yesterday being a victory for Bose, he is seldom remembered & by few, & even the media in India chooses to ignore a hero of their own legion.S. N. Bose’s work on particle statistics (c. 1922), which clarified the behaviour of photons (the particles of light in an enclosure) and opened the door to new ideas on statistics of Microsystems that obey the rules of quantum theory, was one of the top ten achievements of 20th century Indian science and could be considered in the Nobel Prize class.
Excerpts taken from Wikipedia, CERN & Scientific Journal.