UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Jan 01

1 January 1894

Birth of great scientist S N Bose

What happened?

On 1 January 1894, great Indian theoretical physicist renowned for his work on quantum mechanics, Satyendra Nath Bose was born in Calcutta.

Satyendra Nath Bose was an important scientist to hail from India. It is important to know about such great personalities for the UPSC exam. Achievements of scientists can be asked in the UPSC prelims exams.

Biography

  • S N Bose was born as the eldest of 7 children of Surendranath Bose who worked in the engineering department of the East Indian Railway Company.
  • Bose was a brilliant student throughout his school and college days. He stood first in his matriculation, and in his graduate and post-graduate exams. He passed with an M.Sc. in mixed mathematics from the Presidency College in Calcutta in the year 1915.
  • One of his teachers at the college was eminent scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose.
  • Bose started work in 1916 as a research scholar at the University of Calcutta.
  • His area of research was the theory of relativity.
  • Till 1921, he worked as a lecturer in the Physics Department at the University of Calcutta.
  • In 1921, he became a Reader in the Physics Department at the University of Dhaka (in modern-day Bangladesh).
  • In 1924, he derived Planck’s quantum radiation law in a paper without reference to classical physics. This paper proved influential in the creation of a new field called quantum statistics.
  • Bose sent this paper in a letter to Albert Einstein in Germany. Realizing the import of this paper, Einstein translated it into German and published it on Bose’s behalf in a prestigious German journal. The paper was named “Planck’s Law and Hypothesis of Light Quanta”.
  • This recognition enabled Bose to work in Europe for two years alongside great scientists like Louis de Broglie and Marie Curie and Einstein himself.
  • Einstein adopted Bose’s idea from the paper and applied it to atoms. This caused the prediction of a phenomenon which was later called the Bose-Einstein Condensate.
  • Particles with integer spin came to known as Bosons. The name was suggested by Paul Dirac in Bose’s honour. Bosons are particles that obey the Bose-Einstein statistics.
  • The Higgs boson particle, more famously known as the God Particle is one of the many bosons.
  • After work in Europe, he returned to work in Dhaka University as the head of the physics department.
  • After the country’s partition, he returned to Calcutta and taught at the university till 1956.
  • He continued research in nuclear physics, organic chemistry and applied research.
  • Apart from physics, he was also interested in biotechnology, geology, zoology, engineering, anthropology and literature, both English and Bengali.
  • Bose was appointed advisor to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research after it was formed.
  • He was also appointed the President of the National Institute of Science, the Indian Statistical Institute and the Indian Physical Society. He was also made the General President of the Indian Science Congress.
  • He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. In 1958, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • Bose was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1954. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize but was not awarded the prestigious award. Indians would feel disappointed at this snub but Bose himself was not outraged perhaps because in the field of science, having your name imprinted in the language of the subject was far more enduring than a Nobel.
  • His discovery remains one of the top achievements of the 20th century, and S N Bose is a name which rests right among the top names in theoretical physics.
  • Bose passed away on 4 February 1974 at the age of 80 in Calcutta.
Also on this day
1862: The Indian Penal Code came into force.

1879: Birth of English novelist E M Forster, who authored ‘A Passage to India’.

1944: Death of Sir Edwin Lutyens, architect who designed New Delhi, India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhavan
Viceroy’s house), among others.

1955: Death of chemical expert Shantiswaroop Bhatnagar.

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