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Why did Satyen Bose not get the Nobel Prize despite his pathbreaking research?

4 February, 2021 13:55:31
Why did Satyen Bose not get the Nobel Prize despite his pathbreaking research?

He was probably the man who made the West aware of the world-class science talent pool that India harboured down generations and how their brilliance added and could add more to the scientific inventions. An exceptionally brilliant mind, a scientist and academician, Satyendranath Bose was probably one of the least talked about Indian scientist until the Higgs Boson particle or God’s particle made headlines recently. 

Satyendranath Bose was one of the world’s pioneering theoretical physicists, whose contributions to science as well as his thoughts on the society and culture were pathbreaking. Though the West realised his talents, India hardly highlighted him. Bose grew up during a time of turmoil – both in the history of India and in the sphere of his chosen field of study – Physics. While the country was fighting for its freedom from the British, the subject of his choice was undergoing a quantum revolution. In 1924, Bose published his paper titled Planck’s Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis. It signifies the birth of Bose-Quantum statistics, also known as ‘Bose-Einstein statistics.’

Einstein was highly impressed by the young physicist from Bengal. He wrote in a letter dated March 16, 1926: “The recent works of Mr S. N Bose, especially his theory of radiation equilibrium, signify in my opinion, an important and enduring progress of the physical theory. Also, in personal discussion with Mr Bose, I have got the impression that he is a man of unusual gift and depth from whom science has much to expect.”

Once the famous scientist and applied statistician, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis told poet Bishnu De that Satyendranath is a prodigy and there is no other Indian scientist to reach his level of intellect. But despite all the adulation, Bose’s vast contribution to the world of modern science and his work on quantum mechanics remain eclipsed. Called the ‘Father of the God Particle’ for his work on the Boson, his name was sent for the prestigious Nobel Prize in 1956, but for some strange reason, it was rejected by members of the committee. Later many scientists whose research papers were based on Bose’s theory, were conferred the Nobel Prize!

However, Bose remained unaffected by these ‘petty’ recognitions and dedicated his life to science. A scientist of such stature preferred to work diligently, far from the glare of the media and fame.

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