Sunday, November 22, 2009

Physical state of matter and class of particles named after Satyendranath Bose

Satyendranath Bose (also spelled Satyendra Nath Bose) was an Indian Physicist, born in 1894 in Calcutta (West Bengal, India) and later teaching physics at Dacca University in East Bengal (now Bangladesh). In 1924, Bose contacted Albert Einstein in Germany to help him publish a paper on quantum statistics that had been rejected by a British journal. Einstein translated the paper from English into German and submitted it to the journal Zeitschrift für Physik, in which the paper was then published with a note by Einstein. That was the beginning of the history of Bose-Einstein condensates. “Existing” as a predicted state of matter for more than fifty years, in 1989 Eric Cornell and his colleagues demonstrated its real existence by cooling rubidium atoms with laser light to nearly absolute zero temperature.
Bose's significant contributions to science are not only remembered with the terms Bose-Einstein statistics and Bose-Einstein condensate, but also with the name for a class of physical particles, the boson—a story beautifully told by John S. Rigden [2]:
There are various ways that fame comes to a scientist. For Satyendranath Bose it was asking Albert Einstein to run interference for him. Eventually his name was linked with Einstein's in both statistical method of dealing with quantum particles, called Bose-Einstein statistics, as well as the peculiar state of matter known as the Bose-Einstein condensate. In addition, Bose had a class of particles named after him: the boson. […]
Keywords: physics, history, Bose-Einstein statistics, quantum chemistry

[1] Satyendranath Bose (1894-1974) at
[2] John S. Rigden: Hydrogen • The Essential Element. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, Third Printing 2003; page 234.

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