• Satyendra Nath Bose was an Indian mathematician and physicist specializing in theoretical physics. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, in developing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate.
  • A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1954 by the Government of India.
  • Although a number of Nobel Prizes have been given out for the works of Satyendra Nath Bose, particularly for advancing the theory of Bose-Einstein condensates, Bose himself was never given the Nobel Prize.

Satyendranath Bose: Early Life and Career 

  • Born on January 1, 1894, He grew up and studied in Kolkata, where he solidified his position as an exemplary academician. 
  • His father, an accountant in the Executive Engineering Department of the East Indian Railways, gave him an arithmetic problem to solve every day before going to work, encouraging Bose’s interest in mathematics.
  • By the age of 15, he began pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at the Presidency College and later finished his MSc in Mixed Mathematics in 1915. 
  • At 22, Bose was appointed lecturer at Calcutta University, along with astrophysicist Meghnad Saha.
    • By the end of 1917, Bose began giving lectures on physics. 
    • In 1921, he joined the then-newly created Dacca University as Reader in Physics. 
    • It was here while teaching that he documented his findings in a report called Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta.
      • Even though his research was rejected by a journal, he decided to mail his paper to Albert Einstein.
      • Einstein recognised the significance of Bose’s theory and generalised it to a wider range of phenomena, and the theory came to be known as Bose-Einstein statistics.
Satyendra nath bose

Contributions of Satyendranath Bose

  • Bose wrote a brief article titled “Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta” after adapting a lecture he gave at the University of Dhaka on the theory of radiation and the ultraviolet catastrophe.
    • By treating radiation as a gas of photons (Photon gas) and using new statistical techniques for counting photon states, Bose provided a new derivation of Planck’s law.
    • Einstein received a brief paper he had written on the subject and immediately recognised its importance.
    • In agreement with him, Bose’s article “Planck’s Law and Hypothesis of Light Quanta” was translated by Einstein into German and published in Zeitschrift für Physik in 1924 under Bose’s name.

Bose-Einstein Statistics

  • Einstein generalised Bose’s works (on photons), extended it on atoms, and gave the theory of ideal quantum gas (Bose gas). This formed the basis of the Bose-Einstein statistics and Bose-Einstein condensates.
    • Bose was given the opportunity to work in European laboratories for two years alongside scientists like Marie Curie and Albert Einstein as a result of this recognition.
    • The new form of conceptual originality in Bose’s work was that the particles were regarded as indistinguishable, a radical departure from the assumption that underlies the classical Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics (the statistics of “distinguishable” classical particles).
    • Bosons:
      • It was soon realised that the new Bose-Einstein statistics were applicable only to particles with integer spins that do not follow the Pauli exclusion principle.
      • The particles with integer spins are now referred to as bosons (as suggested by Dirac).
      • On the other hand, Fermi-Dirac statistics are applicable to particles with half-integer spins (called fermions), satisfying Pauli’s exclusion principle. 

Bose-Einstein Condensates (BEC)

  • The pioneering ideas of Bose, developed further by Einstein, were confirmed by the observation of a new state of matter in a diluted gas of ultra-cold alkali atoms, the Bose-Einstein condensate.
    • Einstein proposed that if the bosonic atoms are cooled to a very low temperature, it would cause them to condense into the lowest quantum state, thereby resulting in a new state of matter.
    • Thus, Bose-Einstein condensate is a state of matter and a dense and cooled collection of bosons at a very low density, having lowest quantum state.
    • This state is reached when the atoms of specific elements are cooled to a temperature close to absolute zero (0 Kelvin, or minus 273.15 Celsius).
    • The atoms at this point merge into a single entity with quantum characteristics, where each particle also serves as a wave of matter.
    • Experimental proof of the BECs came in 1995, as given by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman (using rubidium atoms) and by Wolfgang Ketterle (using sodium atoms).
      • All three shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001.
    • According to scientists, BECs hold crucial information about curious phenomena like dark energy, the unidentified energy thought to be responsible for the universe’s accelerating expansion.
    • However, BECs are exceptionally fragile. They get warm post their condensation threshold with just a little contact with the outside environment.
  • Why study BEC?
    • A BEC is used to study quantum mechanics on a macroscopic level. Light appears to slow down as it passes through a BEC, allowing scientists to study the particle/wave paradox.
    • A BEC also has many of the properties of a superfluid, or a fluid that flows without friction.BECs are also used to simulate conditions that might exist in black holes.
  • Why is it easy to create BEC in space?
    • BECs have been produced in a variety of experiments on Earth since 1995, but these are hindered by gravity, which collapses the clouds in a split second.
    • To make a BEC, scientists must first corral and then supercool atoms.
      • In the near-zero gravity in space, they can mix the ingredients in a much smaller catchment “trap.” On Earth’s surface, the atoms begin to repel each other and fly apart almost instantaneously.
      • On Earth, laboratories can only maintain Bose-Einstein condensates for a matter of milliseconds. However, research aboard the ISS has created a Bose-Einstein condensate that persisted for more than a second.


  • Conference is held on the occassion of 100th aniversry of S.N. Bose in S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS) in Kolkata
  • SNBNCBS, an Autonomous Research Institute established under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), in 1986 to honour the life and work of S. N. Bose.
  • The conference highlighted that 23 countries have set up National Quantum Missions and India has a substantial contribution to make at an international level, especially in the field of quantum algorithms.
Bust of Satyendra Nath


Awards and Honours 

  • In 1937, Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his only book on science, Visva–Parichay, to Satyendra Nath Bose.
  • Bose was honoured with the title Padma Vibhushan by the Indian Government in 1954. In 1959, he was appointed as the National Professor, the highest honour in the country for a scholar, a position he held for 15 years.
  • In 1986, the S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences was established by an act of Parliament, Government of India, in Salt Lake, Calcutta.
  • Bose was referred to in a July 2012 New York Times article as the “Father of the God Particle.”
  • Bose was nominated by K. Banerjee (1956), D.S. Kothari (1959), S.N. Bagchi (1962), and A.K. Dutta (1962) for the Nobel Prize in Physics, for his contribution to Bose–Einstein statistics and the unified field theory.
  • Bose passed away on February 4, 1974, after a severe heart attack at the age of 80.

When Bose himself was once asked that question, he replied, “I have got all the recognition I deserve” – probably because in the realms of science to which he belonged, what is important is not a Nobel, but whether one’s name will live on in scientific discussions in the decades to come.

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