Satyendra Nath Bose, a scientist among scientists in India, was born in Calcutta on January 1, 1894. His parents belonged to a well-to-do middle class family.
Satyendranath had his early schooling in the Normal School, where Rabindranath had been a student for a few months. He was finally admitted into the Hindu School. His brilliant intellect drew the attention of all his teachers. He passed the Entrance examination with considerable distinction—and joined the Science classes of the Presidency College. Here his class-friends were Dr. Jnan Ghosh, Dr. Jnan Mukherjee, Dr Nikhil Sen, Pulin Sarkar and others; two years later in the B.Sc. classes he was joined by Dr. Meghnad Saha. Among these brilliant students, Satyendra Nath was easily the 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. These were the days when Sir Asutosh Mukherjee was building up the Post-Graduate Science College at the Calcutta University. Asutosh Called Satyendranath, Meghnad and others to join the University as scholars until formal classes could begin.
In 1923, Satyendranath passed on from Calcutta to the newly established University of Dacca. He sent his papers 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. Satyendranath now proceeded to Europe with a State Scholarship and worked in Mme. Curies’s laboratory, and then with Einstein in Germany.
On his return to India, Satyendranath became a source of inspiration and guidance to generations of students, not only in Mathematics and Physics, but also in Chemistry and other allied sciences. He returned to Calcutta in 1945 as Khaira Professor of Physics. He devoted all his time to help his students and fellow workers. He devoted the last years of his academic career in dealing with a problem that has baffled 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, and the latter’s equations, some of which had been published, remain unconfirmed as yet. Still Boson, a scientific term in electron, ha6 been named after him.
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.
Satyendranath was an ardent nationalist. He realised that for scientific progress of the country mother tongue should be the medium. With this, he set about building up the ‘Bangiya Bijnan Parishad‘ and started a scientific journal in Bengali.
Perhaps more than a scientist he regarded himself as a Renaissance humanist. He took all knowledge as his field and here he wandered with ease and authority. Besides his mother tongue and English, he knew Sanskrit, German, French and Italian and read not only scientific works but also literary papers in these languages. His mind was encyclopedic.
Satyendranath was a great nationalist and in early life was associated with Anushilan Samity, the great revolutionary party of Bengal.
Such was the man of fundamental science who passed away in his 80th year on Feb. 3, 1974 full of years and honours.