2013 Physics Nobel an insult to Satyendranath Bose?
Posted on: 05:47 PM IST Oct 08, 2013
Two theorists who predicted the existence of the subatomic Higgs boson almost 50 years ago - and were proven right only in 2012 - won the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday.
British physicist Peter Higgs and Belgian physicist Francois Englert shared the honors, announced in Stockholm at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.But, much of the credit for discovering the boson, or "God Particle," has been given to British physicist Peter Higgs, much to the dismay of the Indian scientists and people. Because, our own Kolkata born Satyendranath Bose is considered the father of the concept boson or 'God Particle'. Sadly, his name was never considered for the Nobel award during his life time. Bose was a close associate of Albert Einstein and worked with him on several ground breaking research projects. Bose died in 1974.A top physicist at the prestigious Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) Bangalore agrees that Satyendranath Bose should have got the Nobel Award, 50 years ago.He said, "What is the use of talking about Satyen Bose' Nobel snub now? Nobel committee ignored him. Several Nobel awards have already gone for the research related to Boson concept. The latest one is actually one of the many Nobel Awards gone for the same field. Certainly, not the first one."According to a science magazine, Bose wrote a paper in 1924 in which he derived Planck's quantum radiation law without referencing classical physics - which he was able to do by counting states with identical properties. The paper would later prove seminal in creating the field of quantum statistics.Bose sent the paper to Albert Einstein in Germany, and the scientist recognised its importance, translated it into German and submitted it on Bose's behalf to the prestigious scientific journal Zeitschrift für Physik. The publication led to recognition, and Bose was granted a leave of absence to work in Europe for two years at X-ray and crystallography laboratories, where he worked alongside Einstein and Marie Curie, among others.Einstein had adopted Bose's idea and extended it to atoms, which led to the prediction of the existence of phenomena that became known as the Bose-Einstein Condensate, a dense collection of bosons - particles with integer spin that were named for Bose.According to a July 2012 New York Times article in which Bose is described as the "Father of the 'God Particle'", the scientist's interests wandered into other fields, including philosophy, literature and the Indian independence movement. He published another physics paper in 1937 and in the early 1950s worked on unified field theories.Several Nobel Prizes were awarded for research related to the concepts of the boson and the Bose-Einstein Condensate. Bose was never awarded a Nobel Prize, despite his work on particle statistics, which clarified the behavior of photons and "opened the door to new ideas on statistics of Microsystems that obey the rules of quantum theory," according to physicist Jayant Narlikar, who said Bose's finding was one of the top 10 achievements of 20th-century Indian science.But Bose himself had responded simply when asked how he felt about the Nobel Prize snub: "I have got all the recognition I deserve." "Many in India were smarting over what they saw as a slight against one of their greatest scientist," The Huffington Post wrote in a July 10, 2012, article. The article also quoted an editorial written earlier that week in The Economic Times, which said, "Many people in this country have been perplexed, and even annoyed, that the Indian half of the now-acknowledged 'God Particle' is being carried in lower case", writes Bio magazine after the 2012 God Particle discovery.