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Satyendra Nath Bose

Satyendra Nath Bose




  • Physicist Satyendra Nath Bose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India, on January 1, 1894, the eldest and only male of seven children. Bose was a brainiac early on.
  • He passed the entrance exam to the Hindu School, one of India’s oldest schools, with flying colors and stood fifth in the order of merit. From there, Bose attended Presidency College, where he took an intermediate science course and studied with renowned scientists Jagadish Chandra Bose and Prafulla Chandra Ra


  • Bose received a Bachelor of Science in mixed mathematics in 1913 from Presidency College and a Master of Science in the same subject in 1915 from Calcutta University.
  • He received such high scores on the exams for each degree that not only was he in first standing but, for the latter, he even created a new record in the annals of the University of Calcutta, which has yet to be surpassed.
  • Between his two degrees, Bose married Usha Devi at age 20. After completing his master’s degree, Bose became a research scholar at the University of Calcutta in 1916, and began his studies on the theory of relativity.


  • As a polyglot, Bose was well versed in several languages such as Bengali, English, French, German and Sanskrit as well as the poetry of Lord Tennyson, Rabindranath Tagore and Kalidasa.
  • He could play the esraj, an 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.
  • From 1916 to 1921, he was a lecturer in the physics department of the University of Calcutta. Along with Saha, Bose prepared the first book in English based on German and French translations of original papers on Einstein’s special and general relativity in 1919.


  • In 1921, he joined as Reader of the department of Physics of the recently founded University of Dhaka(in present-day Bangladesh).
  • Bose set up whole new departments, including laboratories, to teach advanced courses for MSc and BSc honours and taught thermodynamics as well as James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism.
  • Satyendra Nath Bose, along with Saha, presented several papers in theoretical physics and pure mathematics from 1918 onwards.


  • In 1924, while working as a Reader (Professor without a chair) at the Physics Department of the University of Dhaka, Bose wrote a paper deriving Planck’s quantum radiation law without any reference to classical physics.
  • This paper was seminal in creating the very important field of quantum statistics. Though not accepted at once for publication, he sent the article directly to Albert Einstein in Germany.
  • Einstein, recognising the importance of the paper, translated it into German himself and submitted it on Bose’s behalf to the prestigious Zeitschrift für Physik.


  • After his stay in Europe, Bose returned to the University of Dhaka in 1926. Although he did not have a doctorate, Einstein had recommended he be made a professor, and so Bose was made head of the physics department. But upon his return.
  • He published another physics paper in 1937, and in the early 1950s worked on unified field theories.
  • After 25 years in Dhaka, Bose moved back to Calcutta in 1945 and continued to research and teach there until his death in 1974.


  • 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.
  • 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 principlewill 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.
  • Einstein agreed with him, translated Bose’s paper “Planck’s Law and Hypothesis of Light Quanta” into German, and had it published in Zeitschrift für Physik under Bose’s name, in 1924
  • Bose’s interpretation is now called Bose–Einstein statistics. This result derived by Bose laid the foundation of quantum statistics.