Satyendra Nath Bose was a great scientist in India as well as a world-famous figure. He was born in Calcutta on 1 January 1894. His parents belonged to a middle-class family. His father Surendranath Bose was an honest man of iron determination and his mother Amodini Devi was a strong-willed lady.
Satyendra Nath Bose had his early schooling in the Normal School, where Rabindranath Tagore had been a student for a few months. He was finally admitted into the Hindu School. His brilliant performance drew the attention of all his teachers. He passed the Entrance examination with distinction and joined the Science stream in the Presidency College. Here his class friends were some celebrities, such as Dr Jnan Ghose, Dr Jnan Mukherjee, Pulin Sarkar and others. Dr Meghnad Saha joined two years later in the B. Sc. classes as his classmate. Among these brilliant students, Satyendra Nath Bose stood first, and when he took his Master’s degree with about 90% marks in applied Mathematics, he had already become a legend in the student community in Calcutta. It was the time when Sir Asutosh Mukherjee was building up the post-Graduate Science College at the Calcutta University. Sir Asutosh called Satyendra Nath Bose, Meghnad Saha and others to join the University as scholars until formal classes could begin.
In 1923, Satyendra Nath moved from Calcutta to the newly established University of Dacca. During this time, he sent his papers on Quantum Theory for publication to a British Science Journal, and to Einstein in particular. Einstein recognised its importance and translated and published it in a leading German scientific journal with a significant footnote on its importance. Satyendra Nath now proceeded to Europe with a State Scholarship and worked in Mm Curie’s laboratory, and then with Einstein in Germany. In 1924 came out the revolutionary ‘Bose-Einstein Statistics’. Later, Boson — any of a class of subatomic particles whose behaviour is governed by the Bose-Einstien Statistics — has been named after Satyendra Nath Bose.
On his return to India, Satyendra Nath became a source of inspiration and guidance to younger generations of students, not only in Mathematics and Physics but in Chemistry and other allied sciences. He returned to the Calcutta University in 1945 as the Khaira Professor of Physics. He devoted all his time to help his students and fellow workers. In 1954, he demonstrated his prism-photometer, a unique device to analyse thermoluminescence in the International Crystallographic Conference.
He devoted the last years of his career with a problem that has baffled even Einstein and others, viz. the connection between Electrical and Magnetic fields. Einstein passed away before he could sit with Bose in working out this Unified Field Theory in 1955. The news came to Satyendra Nath like a bolt from the blue, and he tore away his papers, that was a great loss in science, but an invaluable touch of his human feelings.
In 1956, on his retirement from the Calcutta University, Bose was called upon to become the Vice-Chancellor of the Visva Bharati University. Prof. Bose was made a National Professor in 1959 which he held till his death.
Perhaps more than a scientist he regarded himself as a Renaissance humanist. He had the zealous pursuit of knowledge in various fields with ease and authority. Besides his mother tongue and English, he knew Sanskrit, German, French and Italian, and read not only scientific works but literary in of papers in these languages. His mind was encyclopaedic.
Satyendra Nath was a great nationalist too. He realised that scientific study should be spread in the mother tongue as in the advanced country of Japan. And with this aim, he set up the Bangiya Bijan Parishad and started a scientific journal in Bengali.
Such a man with deepest human values and unforgettable scientific genius passed away in his 80th year on 3rd February 1974, full of years and honours.