Satyendra Nath Bose, the father of God’s particle, began his journey in the pre-independent princely state of Bengal on January 1st,1894. From his childhood itself, he was a lover of learning. At the mere age of 8, he was already well versed in 6 different languages and was playing multiple musical instruments.
Amidst all these glorifying talents was a lesson that his father had taught him. The lesson of humility. His father was a locomotive engineer. This meant that they lived a better life than most. His father inspired him to become a down-to-earth human. It was he who made him a lifelong student and taught him to bow to his teachers.
His future successes will become testaments to these principles.
It was this humility that first caught the attention of Albert Einstein. In 1918, Bose got Einstein’s permission to translate his work. He translated from German to English and became more advanced in Einstein’s work. He continued working in a similar field of study. While working on his paper as a professor at the University of Calcutta, Bose came up with then-groundbreaking research. His desire to share his research reconnected him to Einstein.
This humility came to his help when several years later he again wrote a letter to Albert Einstein in the early 1920s. At that time Satyendra Bose was working as a university professor in Calcutta. He had submitted a letter to Einstein asking to proofread and if found correct, submit to the German magazine for physics named Zeitschrift für Physik.
Einstein translated his paper and submitted it to the publication as promised. After the publication of Bose’s hypothesis, fellow scientists began their experiments to prove it. And barely a year later, Bose’s hypothesis was proved right.
This led to the discovery of Bosons. A particle named after Bose. Einstein, already intrigued by Bose’s papers, worked more on it, giving birth to Bose-Einstein statistics, Bose-Einstein state, and Bose-Einstein condensate. When Einstein and Bose met face to face years later, Bose again showed his humbleness by crediting Einstein and his teaching for everything.
Years later, he moved to Dhaka (the present capital of Bangladesh) and started teaching at the University of Dhaka.
During these years is when he met Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore and Bose had a lot in common. Both loved Bengali art and culture were geniuses in their respective field and were prominent figures. This led to a very good friendship. Rabindranath Tagore went on to publish only one scientific paper in his life, which he dedicated to Satyendra Bose.
The lesson of humility that he learned during childhood from his father stayed with him throughout his life. Years later after working with the likes of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Rabindranath Tagore and getting prestige like the Padma Vibhushan award (second highest civilian award in India) and becoming a Rajya Sabha (council of state) member, he went back to the field of teaching. He wanted to give back to the science community and remained a professor till his last breath.
In his later days, he also worked on the expansion of his mother tongue Bengali. He translated a lot of works of Kalidasa and Rabindranath Tagore. His co-workers always complimented his relentless efforts to give back to his community, be it science or Bangali. When he passed away on 17 February 1974, the Prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, mourned his death by declaring him the professor of India.
Life moves in circles, we say. In this story of Bose, we saw how his life started with humility. How humility made his name etched on the papers of history and how he departed on a humble note.
But life has its own unique way of testing a man’s quality. Unfortunately, Satyendra Bose was denied the Nobel Prize. Even though seven future winners went on to win the prize based on his research.
Satyendra Nath Bose built his life on the pillars of relentless hard work and humility. Born with a silver spoon, Bose was always the hardest worker in the room. And even after not getting a Nobel, he was content. Today many call him an underrated and a hidden genius. But in his own words, he got all the recognition he deserved.