Opinion » Open Page

Updated: August 30, 2011 15:32 IST

Satyen Bose, the unsung hero

S. Gurumanickam
Comment (74)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

When his meticulously researched paper sent for publication was returned by the Philosophical Magazine from London with not-so-flattering remarks, Satyendranath Bose did not lose heart. He was so sure of his finding. This was in 1924.

Born on January 1, 1894, Bose studied in Calcutta and was brilliant in his studies. His classmate was the other great (also forgotten) Meghnad Saha, and the legendary Jagdish Chandra Bose was his teacher.

At 22, Bose was appointed lecturer in Calcutta University, along with Saha. In 1921, he joined the then newly created Dacca University as Reader in Physics. He had a couple of papers published by the same journal earlier, co-authored with Saha. It was here while teaching that he wrote this paper for deriving the Planck's Law. His paper was titled ‘Planck's Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis.'

Golden period

The early decades of 1900 were a golden period in the growth of science. It was teeming with great scientists in the western world competing with one another creditably. This was the period when classical sciences such as physics, chemistry, astronomy and medicine were outpacing one another, despite little and inefficient communication. The Moore's law of today would pale into insignificance if we apply it to that period.

In 1900, Max Planck explained in the theory of black body radiation that light is emitted in discrete amounts (quanta) rather than as a continuous wave. But his derivation of this formula was not satisfactory to other scientists, in fact even to himself. However, his formula held true to everyone's surprise.

Albert Einstein's Nobel Prize-winning paper explained the photoelectric effect based on Planck's quanta as photons in 1905. (Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for this paper, not for his papers on Relativity!) But many of his colleagues were not fully convinced of his yet-to-be-developed photon theory. The world was waiting for a new theory on fundamental particles to fill the gaps.

Under these circumstances, Bose re-sent the paper to Albert Einstein in June 1924, with a fervent appeal for his perusal and opinion. “Though a complete stranger to you, I do not feel any hesitation in making such a request,” he wrote. (He was being modest; he had earlier translated Einstein's Relativity papers into English with Einstein's permission). Little could he have foreseen the impact this was going to have.

Einstein immediately recognised the significance of this paper. This paper was going to substantiate and revolutionise his theory of photoelectric effect. Einstein himself translated Bose's paper into German and sent it to Zeitschrift für Physik with his endorsement for publication. With his demigod status, Einstein's words carried much weight. It was promptly published, and immediately Bose shot into prominence.

Seminal phenomenon

Einstein personally invited Bose to work with him, and their efforts culminated in the Bose-Einstein statistics, an important and seminal phenomenon in quantum physics.

His work was wholeheartedly supported and appreciated by the leading lights in quantum theory, such as Louise de Broglie, Erwin Schroedinger, Paul Dirac and Heisenburg.

In honour of Bose' (and every Indian), Paul Dirac coined the word ‘Boson' for those particles which obey Bose's statistics. In atomic theory, only Fermions (named after Enrico Fermi) and Bosons were named after physicists. What a wonderful distinction conferred on our great scientist.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1954 — and forgotten afterwards.

This is not intended to be a scientific article, but a grim reminder of our apathy to our eminent scientists who had toiled with great shortcomings, yet came out with flying colours. J.C. Bose, P.C. Ray, M. Saha, C.V. Raman and countless other yesteryear scientists, who had achieved so much, were acclaimed internationally, yet ignored and were in oblivion at home.

Is it not a shame that Bose is known more to westerners (even now) than to Indians? How many of us are aware of his communication to Einstein and the subsequent events. It is perplexing why this little incident of Bose sending his paper to Einstein has not found a place in our schoolbooks!

We overlook scientists and their achievements. Yet we don't fail to adulate and elevate Tendulkars, A.R. Rahmans, Kamal Hasans and Khans for their achievements on the screen/ in entertainment. No complaints. Just why don't we extend this courtesy to our real achievers?

We, Indians, are blessed with many festivals to celebrate. Quite a few are new years! Apart from January 1, we have many new years, Assamese, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, etc. Of these, we chose unanimously to celebrate the astronomically insignificant date of January 1 as our own, and bash up our streets with unrestrained celebration with booze, dance and gaiety.

Why cannot January 1, birthday of Satyendranath Bose, be celebrated also as a National Scientist Day? Our National Science Day falls on February 28 in remembrance of the Raman Effect.

More In: Open Page | Opinion

I can understand and appreciate your hard feelings sir .This is the curse of this great nation-that is India .If these individuals had been born in US or Uk or any western country they would have reached a status of God .In India it will only be politicians or thier dearer and nearer ones who will get recognition.Only a reincornation of God in some human form may undo this or he may also fail .That is the fate sir

from:  SR swami
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 05:15 IST

Further to my earlier comments, I rethought and concluded that in this day of the NET and the WWW and Electronics, someone should produce DVDs or something of the sort - one on each GREAT SCIENTIST WHO MAKES INDIA PROUD. These should be freely available for viewing by children and in schools and wherever young minds are looking for inspiration and guidance.

My earlier offer of putting down Rs.1000/ to start up this project stands. And I request others to come forward to make this up t large amounts.

Maybe THE HINDU organization itself could take this up as a project and be the core around which this work can be built. Even if this is made a Profit Centre for The Hindu, the results would be welcome.

The main thing needed is someone to lead - maybe the author of the article himself ; and someone to do all the work.

I am always here to give some free 'advice' :-)
Good Luck.
S. Krishnan

from:  S. Krishnana
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011 at 16:23 IST

While the passionate comments by viewers is very encouraging; it will be just hot air unless something concrete is done. I suggest that we should set up in Chennai a 'HALL OF FAME' for our Scientists, Mathematicians et al. (I love and adore A.R.Rahman, I enjoy Kamal Hasan movies, and SRK's great acting - but those matters are irrelevant here) There should be a bust of every great Scientist/Mathematician and a Plaque briefly eulogising the person. There should be a console in front of every bust wherein the visitor should be able to press buttons to view/hear biographical details of the person. Every school child/youngster should be given access to this under visit programmes to be arranged by schools/other organization. I put down my Rupees one thousand to fund this programme. I am sure that there are others who can add the rest of the money to make it into millions - for money and goodwill is not lacking in our country. I have the confidence that this fund can grow into larger sums as per need. We need some energetic person to organize and execute the project. I can provide the front room of my house as the venue from where this activity can start moving. My name is S. Krishnan. I am nearing 71 years but am physically and mentally quite OK and can participate; but I do not have the energy levels needed to organize and lead. I can be contacted on my cellphone no. 944 401 1432.

from:  S. Krishnan
Posted on: Jan 23, 2011 at 00:06 IST

The Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was surrounded by fans recently. He complained! In fact, he should read your article, and learn to accept the role of of a celebrity. He and his friend, Thomas A. Steitz, should appear in advertisements like Complan, Boost and so on.

from:  Ananth Sethuraman
Posted on: Jan 21, 2011 at 22:52 IST

Thanks to Hindu for publishing such inspiring article. Our education system is really mired, we are not acquainted with our home-grown Scientists, that is a pity. Our books are filled with applause of foreign scientists and a little corner is given to Indian Scientists as a consolation. We underestimate the values of being Indian and always try to flee from India, it is very pathetic. I wish that Hindu may add such type of articles regularly .

from:  Mukul
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 18:24 IST

Many thanks for such an inspiring article. Its amazing that Mr. Bose was able to get in touch with Einstien & got into lime light in those days. I agree that such a great Scientist was not made known to the whole of India. I must admit that I have heard about him only today after reading this article. It's not too late for the Government to include the contributions of this great person in the curriculum of the various educational institutions. This will create an awareness amongst the current generation of students.

from:  V. Govindarajan
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 11:04 IST

Very good article. As a researcher studying Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), I have to say that the science has been explained very well. To add to the story, when the theory was proposed, many people did not believe it was possible to achieve Bose-Einstein condensation. While there was some evidence of BECs in certain systems, it was only in 1995 that pure Bose-Einstein condensates were obtained matching the predictions of Bose and Einstein spot on, for which the 2001 Physics Nobel Prize was awarded. BECs are currently a very hot topic of research with potential applications to precision sensors and quantum information.

from:  Anand Ramanathan
Posted on: Jan 19, 2011 at 07:34 IST

Nice article and a emotional tribute to late Shri.S C Bose. We have forgotten our real heroes who achieved remarkable things in life. I enjoyed reading this article and will share with some of my friends.These days education is used in commercial way to make money and real importance is not given for indepth studies or research. That is how this century has not seen any good Indian Scientist so far.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Jan 18, 2011 at 17:53 IST

When I see a sixty-plus senior cycling on a busy city street, I do not see anything wrong in a Satyen Bose having been left on his own. When I see a daily wage earner leave eating onion and tomato, I do not see anything wrong in Maoism flourishing by the day. When I see the children in my village studying in an open field, I do not see anything wrong in Lalus becoming the Chief Ministers. When I see the ill-clothed people burning firewoods to remain alive in winter, I do not see anything wrong in their curses on billion-dollar residences. When I see the contemporary politicians, flaunting Harvard and Oxford degrees, perform, I do not see anything wrong in many remaining illiterate for ages. When I see someone's comment using a fake name - out of fear?, I do not see anything wrong in people eulogising every Tom, Dick and Harry. When I see the rulers giving us scam after scam and justifying them using Harvard or Oxford degree, I do not see anything wrong in many of our villages remaining dark in the nights. When I see the judge bartering his verdicts for land, I do not see anything wrong in his elevation to a lucrative position post-retirement. When I see an aspirant from a poor family bribing someone to enter the armed forces, I do not see anything wrong in his owning a few flats in Adarsh post-retirement. Stop. When I do not see any light anywhere in this country, do I need my sight, O God?

from:  VMN Sharma
Posted on: Jan 18, 2011 at 16:24 IST

Science is one of the favourite streams opted after class x by a majority of students. Some opt to study medicine, to become doctors. Others take up this stream either to join reputed institutions of technology or to clear government service exams. In this quest, their sole aim is a bright future for themselves not for science. Very few students would like to take up research after their 10+2 completion. The only reason behind it is that the indian society never aknowledges research as a career option. This is solely due to the inadequate knowledge and misconceptions prevailing in the minds of people. The responsibility for distribution of this knowledge lies solely in the hands of the government. First of all, programmes like National Science Congress should be given a boost. More scientific exhibitions and science model making competitions should be encouraged. When it comes to advertisements then the ISRO is depicted as a symbol of Indian excellence in sciences. But astronomy is not the only science Indians are interested in. Institutions like BARC(Bhaba Atomic Reasearch Center) should also be highlighted. Lastly, it is not necessary that there should be a single date to celebrate indian acheivements in sciences. Why not have a number of days for this purpose named on the Indian researchers who had worked unknown in some distant laboratory?

from:  Shiva Shetty
Posted on: Jan 15, 2011 at 20:23 IST

I am sure we will be more accomodating in applauding our scientists after reading this.We need many more like S C Bose to sustain the legacy which they(unsung heroes) have created. I believe Hindu is the only newspaper in India which brings these forgotten heroes to our knowledge. Would like to know more about the unsung Indian heroes.

from:  Rajat
Posted on: Jan 15, 2011 at 03:47 IST

SN Bose is pretty well known among physicists at least - everyday we use Bose-Einstein Statisitics and talk of Bosons. Lot of great scientists would not, and do not, make the grade if popular awareness were the only criteria.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Jan 14, 2011 at 17:40 IST

This is a great article and for articles like this 'The Hindu' stands apart from all other newspapers in India. Even in Bengal, Satyen Bose is a forgotten hero. And the worst thing that has happened to our society is the best brains first try to get into the IITs and then into IIMs and then finally into Banks or Brokerage houses or IT companies. A few bright students do go into Medical and into public services too. But not a single bright student pursues Pure Science today. I know a lot of my friends who have persuded BSc (Honours) and MSc in physic or chemistry or mathematics from Presidency College, Xaviers College, Scottish Church College and even IIT Kharagpur & Bombay ultimately going for an MBA in finance from IIMs and then finally working for Banks with good salary. They say there is no future in doing PhD, so I choose MBA. I hope this phenomenon in India will soon change. Even my parents never asked me to take up pure science in graduation.

from:  Partha Sarathi Das
Posted on: Jan 14, 2011 at 10:45 IST

I agree. We should have a day to recognize out Scientific community. Jan 1st and Bose's birthday will defenitely be a great day! It shall give a worthy cause for welcoming and starting the year with cheerfullness and hope of discovering new things.

from:  BM Bharadwaj
Posted on: Jan 13, 2011 at 15:31 IST

Till the time I started reading article of Satyen Bose. I thought it must be unsung hero of patroitism. But by the time I realised that I covered up a great Usung Hero Story.Article by S . Gurumanickam inspires on the fading aspects of personality like Bose.Awareness with respect to Satyen Bose is really appreciated.

from:  Yashish Manta
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 11:06 IST

I am overwhelmed at the huge response to the article and gratified to note that so many are concerned. I like to point out that the apathy still exists even amongst our 'Scientists'. Last year was the centenary year of Homi Bhabha and the 150th birth anniversary of J. C. Bose. Bose was the forerunner of Indian modern science and an outstanding international scientist. The government, the media and sadly the Science Academies hardly took note of this occasion. While Bhabha's centenary was celebrated with elan and high expenditure, J. C. Bose was relegated to the back pages. He can be an inspiration to our youngsters and I hope that the lapse will be remedied.

from:  Prof. T. N. Rengarajan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 09:36 IST

Yes we can/we have to celebrate January 1 as National Science day as remembrance to Bose

from:  shashidhara
Posted on: Jan 11, 2011 at 17:08 IST

When will the Indians understand? we are incapable of remembering because we are drugged to hysteria, emotions and drama. Even this article draws us to celebrate the doyens of science. Why should we celebrate? Are we not content with the celebartions of all the festivals and b'days about illiterate and uneducated politicians and players and movie actors and the figures from religions? Why can't we consider it as a duty to do your job well? When will Indians understand this? Look at the students from Hyderabad. They are happy fighting on the roadside when they are supposed to be passionate at work. We are not fighting external enemies here. We are at war with our own Indian psyche.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Jan 11, 2011 at 11:49 IST

'We overlook scientists and their achievements. Yet we don't fail to adulate and elevate Tendulkars, A.R. Rahmans, Kamal Hasans and Khans for their achievements on the screen/ in entertainment. No complaints. Just why don't we extend this courtesy to our real achievers?' I thought this thought needed to be emphasized again. Satyen Bose and many others are immortal for meaningful and quality work done in an era when the literacy rate in India was abysmal.They bought international fame long and far beyond any of these Bollywood jokers can comprehend or contribute.

from:  Subhalakshmi Kumar
Posted on: Jan 11, 2011 at 04:42 IST

As a someone with a lot of passion for physics, even though I agree to a lot of facts given in the article, I do NOT agree with the conclusion of the article or with most of the comments ahead of me. The author and most of the commentators seem to blame the Indian culture and educational system and 'Indian' mentality towards scientists for our backwardness in the field of technology and science. From my experiences, I can say that this phenomenon is not unique to a developing country like India. Even in a developed nation like the USA, the average citizen does not know about most of the stalwarts of science and maths like Euler, Witten, Feynman, Dirac, Schrodinger, Fermi and so on and on. Einstein and Stephen Hawking are exceptions to this list because of their treatment by the popular media. The average American knows his Michael Jordan and his Paris Hilton better than any of the scientists mentioned above. I am very sure nobody outside the scientific community would have known about John Nash before 'A Beautiful Mind' was released as a movie. Scientists are driven by a need more deeper and meaningful than to be just celebrated by the public. I believe it is not so much important for an average Indian to know about Dr.Sathyendra Nath Bose than for the scientific community to build upon his work. Scientists as individuals have always been largely unknown to the general populace, and it is their work which should take precedence to themselves. The article and a lot of comments seemed to hint upon the fact that our scientists are better known and recognized by the west than by ourselves. This is either an overstatement or a very misleading one. It would be correct to say that they are recognized by the scientific community in the west. This is as a result of the existence of such a community. I am sure most students who have earned a degree in physics even in India would know Dr.Bose and the significance of his contribution to physics. Just a few thoughts and perspectives before more people join the bandwagon of very easily blaming politicians and media for all our troubles, real or perceived.

from:  Hariharan Narayanan
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 23:54 IST

I like the point raised in the article that when recognition is given to film stars and sportspersons the scientists who do a lot of creative painstaking research are rarely recognised and appreciated. The society which does not honour people of calibre is not progressive.

from:  A.Michael Dhanaraj
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 22:31 IST

A thought provoking article clearly highlighting the state of affairs of this country and with this article you have tried to light a candle to drive the darkness faced by current generation of student community. Such articles will help in inculcating an urge among the budding scientists to take up more research oriented assignments making a strong nation.

from:  L.Guru Rajan
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 19:33 IST

Great article. Atleast an Indian News Paper recognized him. I love Satyendra Nath Bose and when I have saw his face the first time, I thought he is not ordinary. Then i further read his achievements and posted a tribute video on youtube just to highlight him. The video may not 100% makes sense but the tribute and remembrance to this great man by me is. Here is the link.

from:  Narendra Saluja
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 17:49 IST

The open page article(Jan.9) regarding the contribution of the great physicist Satyendranath Bose was very informative and at the same time it put me to the shame about my ignorance regarding the historical aspects of achievements and contribution of the Satyendranath Bose, especialy being a physics student and having studied the Bose-Einstein statistics throughly in graduation. Being an Indian it is absolutely proud thing to know that an Indian scientist had received recognition for his work among the leage of the western scientist. I appreciate the idea of celebrating 1st January as a National Scientist Day as it may give our students an opportuniety to know about our forgotten great scientist Satyendranath Bose.

from:  Swamini Tatkare
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 14:44 IST

Dear Sri.S.Gurumanickam,

It is one of the finest articles i have read in the recent times. It is very unfortunate that such eminent scientists do not find proper place even in our school text books, leave aside other mediums. Of course, i have equal love and regards for KamalHasans, Tendulkars and Rehmans and that is in a different sphere! Keep writing. (I feel really proud since I know who you are!)

from:  N.Thiyagarajan
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 13:24 IST

That was quite informative...and inspiring, though i'm a graduate in physics; only now i'm aware of it..thanks for the info

from:  PushkarNath
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 11:20 IST

That was quite informative...and inspiring, though i'm a graduate in physics; only now i'm aware of it..thanks for the info

from:  PushkarNath
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 11:06 IST

At the outset congratulations to The Hindu for living to its reputation of publishing the correct content that inspires minds of its reader base.

Honestly have heard of Mr.Satyen Bose.The article indeed touches a chord,when we read about Mr.Einstein respecting Mr.Satyen Bose.

In USA if one goes to Princeton,NewJersy one can still look at the house of Mr.Einstein and the reverence given to the heritage of Mr.Einstein.

India as a nation has crossed the cusp of change with Mr.Manmohan's economic liberalisation.Whilst Mr.Manmohan is an astute politician and executes within his limtations.We need an effective Minister for Science and Technology who can first of all ensure with the Education Minister that the Education content of our school syllabus is a central one and with content relevant to India and her lineage first and foremost ,rather that learning more about what happened in the West.

In short Education with focus on nurturing sciences in the young generation of India must be the basis to lay the foundations of ensuring the robust economic growth as India marches towards eminence in the Global League of Developed Nations.

from:  Udaykumar PT
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 10:50 IST

I remember a thrilling experience I had when I attended a popular science lecture by the great C.V. Raman in Bangalore in 1953. The lecture was titled (if I recall rightly) "Buds, Birds & Butterflies". The two-hour lecture was spell-binding and very informative. He was bubbling with energy when we waw him on the stage. I remember him saying in the beginning of the lecture 'I am 62 year old but I feel like I am 26'. Except the 'CV Raman Nagar' in Bangalore, I don't think many locations are named after him or other great scientists of India (except perhaps the Jadish Chandra Bose Road in Kolkata).

In the current situation in the country this naming seems to be reserved mostly for the political class. The Hindu has done a great service by publishing this article on Prof. SN Bose. I suggest the paper may consider publishing at least one such feature a week covering our scientific heritage.

from:  charanjit singh
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 09:24 IST

An excellent article.

from:  Madan
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 08:13 IST

I thank the author for writing this article on Prof. Bose's achievements. As a professor of Physics of a Canadian University, I was astonished to find the ignorance of my western physicist colleagues about it. As for Indians of today, less said is better. Indians of yester-years were more respectful of scientists than today's.

from:  Dr. R. L. Banerjee
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 04:32 IST

Nice article Mr.Gurumanickam.
There are many such unsung heroes in India.
You have expressed your emotions in the right manner.

Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 03:29 IST

Landau's List

Landau kept a list of names of physicists which he ranked on a logarithmic scale of productivity ranging from 0 to 5. The highest ranking, 0.5, was assigned to Albert Einstein. A rank of 1 was awarded to "historical giants" Isaac Newton, Satyendra Nath Bose, Eugene Wigner, and the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac and Erwin Schrödinger. Landau ranked himself as a 2.5 but later promoted himself to a 2. David Mermin, writing about Landau, referred to the scale, and ranked himself in the fourth division, in the article My Life with Landau: Homage of a 4.5 to a 2.
Taken from the wikipedia page on Lev landau(arguably the greatest author of a lecture series on theoretical physics,theoretical physicist of highest order and a Nobel Prize winner)
I would also like to tell that say that 1st part of my post is taken from the page on Lev Landau.I didnt find that information in Satyendranth Bose's page.Most probably that information came form outside India.You can also find that many re......nowned names like Fermi,Max Planck,Maxwell are missing from the list of physicists with rating 1 according to Landau who is a theoretical physicist of the first order and the author of the most rigorous series of lectures on the subject.Another proof that he is more popular in the west than in India.Same is the case with George Sudarshan.

from:  Arun P
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 00:52 IST

Really thought provoking article. Thanks for the publication of this beautiful article. Our curricular should include the story of such inspiring stories. The government should promote science and scientific articles for the young generations. Please keep publishing this type of good work.

from:  Abhijit Ray
Posted on: Jan 10, 2011 at 00:10 IST

Really thought provoking article. Thanks for the publication of this beautiful article. Our curricular should include the story of such inspiring stories. The government should promote science and scientific articles for the young generations. Please keep publishing this type of good work.

from:  Abhijit Ray
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 23:56 IST

very nice...i m a science student.i studied bose einstein equation but nobody told about Bose..but today i m happy for his contribution to physics...thanks to u sir

from:  deepa tyagi
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 19:07 IST

Thanks for publishing the article on Satyen Bose. Please also do publish an article about Meghnad Saha.

from:  Shouvik Mukherjee
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 15:17 IST

A great point. While the nation and its people has ample time to go through the domestic and other so-called-important affairs of the Khans and Roshans, there is no time to remember people who have made great contributions to the public and intellectual life of India. While the characterless are honored, and rewarded with great degree of space on the idiot as well as the box office - there is not even an iota of space for these icons. The blame has to lie with us - for its us who have endorsed such kind of culture where the people with maximum controversy(not creativity) are rewarded!!

from:  Sagar
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 14:51 IST

Truly thought provoking article.I completely agree with the author when he talks about including such inspiring stories in the curriculum of our children.The government on its part can do more to promote science and scientific research than the occasional lip service which it indulges in. Keep up the good work..

from:  jha
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 13:50 IST

More over, in 2000, Bose theory of Boson condensation was experimentally proved by Colorado University, and researchers at Colorado university were awarded nobel prize.

from:  Kannan
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 12:09 IST

Eveyone of us need to read this.As a society we are hugely apathetic to the importance of basic sciences and any form of real handiwork. We may well be smug in apreciating our century old handicrafts and sculptures to no end but its a fact that in the industrial and information age,we have been reduced to a country of insignificant stature, of plagiarists and copycats,of hurriedly googled assignments and readymade science projects. This article and similar stories must find its way into the hearts and minds of young students via classrooms.We as a people need to inculcate the sense of divinity and respect associated with science and human ingenuity. Only then can we ever dream of being an advanced nation.Providing tertiary services using leased and bought technologies will not take us far.

from:  Manish Joshi
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 12:07 IST

A very good article. We often neglect our past, and the contribution of many Indians to the world developpement. We feel shamed to speak about it.Recently the PM has made a very good speech in Chennai, concerning the importance of science. He has said: 'Many of our outstanding scientific discoveries have been converted into marketable products by technologists and firms based abroad'. We must cultivate in India, the will to protect and praise those who contributed to modernism, pluralism, and liberalism. Our past belongs to us. We must remember it, and defend it, because it has contributed to the developpement of humanity. We always think that the enlightment movement pertains to the western society. If you see the history it's not the reality.

from:  Mayoura Sougoumar, Tahiti
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 11:29 IST

this was very thought provoking article . we really don't respect the hard-work of our own people,while we should recognize their importance. Its our responsibility to tell our offspring about their milestone they have set up.

from:  Aditya Shanker Raman
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 11:23 IST

Great article. It is apathetic the state of affairs in India. Science and research plays a major part in modern day economics. Until we do not recognize the great peoples in Science it would be difficult to inspire and create new generation of scientists. Our politics, media, education system is out of sync with 21st century success.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 10:55 IST

Its a very informative article. In poor countries like India, people worship wealthy and becoming rich is considered as the only purpose of life. Parents push their children from beginning itself to study hard so that they can get a decent job. Creation and innovations are considered forbidden, reserved only for some gifted people. This culture of exclusiveness is the reason that we don't see scientists as normal people and bury them in textbooks. We don't celebrate innovation because celebration and innovation are considered two opposite terms in India.

from:  Ravi Misra
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 10:32 IST

I enjoyed the article. It is indeed true that Satyendra Nath Bose was a scientist of great repute. It will be a welcome gesture if streets around IITs or IISC or more likely labs/facilities across the country could be named against Bose. Also govt together with present scientist community should highlight and showcase such jewels of India to the budding school children who are tomorrows future. Indian should be proud of every thing Indian. Rest will follow...

from:  Abhishek
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 10:07 IST

Excellent article! The Hindu should keep up the good work of reminding us of our scientific heritage.

from:  Sriram Damaraju
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 09:56 IST

Wonderful !! If only our politicians could do the same our country could become a paradise on earth.

from:  Paul
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 09:51 IST

I whole heartedly support all the views expressed in the article. Many many thanks for raising this importatnt point of celebrating the REAL ACHIEVERS.

from:  Anil P.
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 09:48 IST

Excellent and thought provoking article. Yes, we should divert attention of majority of the population towards science. This will create real growth. The author is right when he says that we should give as much importance to the great scientists as we give to sportsmen and actors. As we have already 28 Feb as National Science day, we may as well rename it as National Scientists day instead if 1 January as it may be drowned in the celebration of New Year's day. All schools, colleges and othe educational institutions should make this day as graet as 15 August.

from:  Sridharan
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 09:36 IST

The contribution of C.V. Raman is also great in physics, both scientist have outstanding performance in research. We have to take something good from his character,also from his work. This is not good to fight on 'which day is decided for celebration of National Scientist Day'.

from:  Amol
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 09:34 IST

Well written article. With all due respect, my question to the author is what would the celebration of a National Scientist Day bring? We all know such celebrations actually don't make any impact. I think the more important question to ask here is why don't we have more of such scientists coming out compared to pre-independence? I think one major reason - we don't fund Research as much as we should. Even in premier Institutes Students who are research oriented usually abandon their interest and look for more Job oriented courses as they know where they would end up in life. Unless we fund & encourage young to take up research, such celebrations would have no consequence.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 09:09 IST

Completely agree sir . It shows the unscientific bend of our mind , that we dont give due respect to the science and scientists .

from:  Raghvendra jain
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 08:47 IST

Being science students we came across the Bose-Einstein equation a number of times but none of us knew this fascinating story. I totally agree that some people get unnecessary news footage for obnoxious comments like wanting to be a porn star, etc. But the apathetic treatment towards our scientists is evident by The Hindu's own web page, where the main subject of the text, Mr Satyendranath Bose, does not even feature in the keywords.

from:  Sangramsingh Salvi
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 08:32 IST

Mr.GuruManickam: I appreciate your writings on Mr Bose. You are right. I have learned Sir CV Raman through 'The Raman Effect' in schools. However not about Mr Bose. I too agree with you, the information about our precious homegrown scientists should find a prominent place in our children's textbooks. This will act as an inspiration and enormously boost the self confidence of younger generation.

from:  Karthik S
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 08:28 IST

Just another case in point that our school text-books need to be revised to reflect more relatable and relavant content rather than churning generations of pupil crippled on their own history. Indian history as has been taught in our schools has been selectively chosen to render a feeling of Gandhi-Nehru gratefulness to students while tastelessly ommiting all other aspects of contemporary history.

from:  Suyash Tiwari
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 08:23 IST

Well written article. However, I read by Dr. Bose at an early age and always knew about his work. He made a calculation mistake while teaching at University of Dhaka, but realized that it was not a mistake after all. I had read about the difficulties he faced to get a teaching position at the University of Dhaka.

from:  Sandhu
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 08:20 IST

An excellent article, unfortunately, the social environment that exists in India today may not recognise the significance of such achievements and the apathy that has become common occurance.

from:  Gupta VVSR
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 08:01 IST

The reason we don't celebrate these people is because of the crazy and greedy society that we live in - that does not respect the brain but only respects the bank balance. Does any science textbook talk about Boson or Dr. Bose? The problem is with out educators as well.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 06:44 IST

Awesome article. It serves as an eye opener to the current generation in introspecting themselves to find out why India has become a bastion of support/outsourced IT when in 1900s, we were pioneers in science. Even Dr. Ramakrishnan, told scientists are not rock stars and its completely an Indian phenomenon to idolize and give demi god status for few years and then forget them. I just hope the increasing cultural oblivion towards our vast history and achievements does not result in completely being overshadowed by spatio-temporal affection towards western doctrines.

from:  Seshadri
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 06:43 IST

The idea mentioned in this article premised on thinking that as an Indian (not all but most of us) we have a awe of imported things and 'theories'. Somewhere inside in our thoughts the feeling is planted genetically or by our forefathers that we are here to emulate not to invent. We will happily endorse 'imported' as something of divine quality and standard and more happily treat 'Indian' adjective as low standard and quality, whether it is thing or person. Specially in the field of science this seems to be very much prominent. One possible solution for this problem could be Primary Education, as the author has also mentioned. Since early years of our life scientists remains synonymous with foreign names as Albert Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Max Planks, Madam Curie, Gregor Mendel. This will entrench the feelings in the young minds that only the world outside India has provided the scientists. My suggestion is not to delete these names from the text books but to add more names with emphasis on scientists of Indian origin, this will also help our 'little masters' to remember the names which is familiar to them.

from:  Amit Gupta
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 06:29 IST

What a fantastic article! It is a pity that the modern Indian society had, and continues to, neglect scientific achievements (and then we talk about the why there is 'brain drain'). Kudos to The Hindu for publishing this piece at the conclusion of the 98th Indian Science Congress.

from:  Sunil
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 05:41 IST

Very nicely written article! I agree with the author that scientists must be given more recognition.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 05:20 IST

Its nice to see the article here. The Hindu knows clearly about the news worth telling the people. Other newspapers have just become tabloid, particularly the online versions. God bless those newspapers with some sense.

from:  Avijit
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 05:17 IST

India has produced brilliant scientists and mathematicians and yet does not have a celebrity status because unlike other countries, the population does not understand the achievements of these scientists. Also, the technological developments in computers and scietific instumentation brought out the significance of the work these scientists achieved. India can honor these scientists by heavily investing in science education and research rather than celebrating their birth days.

from:  KV Rao
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 04:34 IST

An excellent article by S.Gurumanikam. At the Nobel museum in Stockholm stands a bust of Professor Chandrashekar, rather one of the very few sculptures to adorn the museum. An audio visual system takes us through his life, science and his thoughts. I recently gave a lecture in India and touched upon astrophysics. It was apalling to find that few in the audience could even recollect the man, forget having any insight into the 'Chandrashekar effect'. As elegantly said by the author our scientific luminaries are known more to westerners (even now) than to Indians? For once we as a nation need to forget the Tendulkars, Khans and Bacchans and look deep into our scientific psyche. Hope this article strikes a chord in our educationists and make history of science and Indian scientists a prominant subject in the school curriculum at the least.

from:  Dr. Hari Subramanian
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 04:22 IST

Now you know why inspite of our brilliant minds we have never been able to achieve what we should have. Our system and culture has been busy wagging its tail to the Western culture. We are too attracted to sensationalism and high flying shows ignoring the real contributions that makes a country move forward. Till we find a balance between the two we will always lag behind, as a Nation, in becoming a true leader in the world.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 04:12 IST

Yes,I am ashamed that I didnt know abt this great person earlier. At the same time I am also not feeling bad to blame our educational department. Thank you author for letting me know about Bose atleast now

from:  Ananth Nagarajan
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 04:01 IST

I want to thank your esteemed paper for highlighting this genius from the 'Gauda' nation. Shame that in India, we do not publicize or give adequate importance to our home grown scientists. But, the other Bose (Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose) also took much of limelight away from him. Prof. Satyen Bose was a a very focused and singular in his mission and who delivered in science by competing against the best mind the Western World could offer at that time. He was in race with the likes of Einstein, Pauli, Dirac, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Bohr who were all Nobel winners of that time. Too sad that Prof. Satyen Bose was not one of them that he richly deserved all the accolades one could offer. As your article mentions, the sub-atomic particles such as 'Boson' and 'Bose-Einstein particulates', were named after him and this was recently confirmed by experimental proof at absolute temperature. This goes back to the fact that 'competency' brings out the best in the individuals and that is completely lacking here today in India. Lack of competition, alpha-male attitude by some individuals in some research institutes, rush to IT is resulting is slow death of science in India. We have along way to go even to compete with China let alone West.

from:  Raman
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 03:27 IST

as excited as i will be to know an Indian's association with a scientist and me being a great fan of physics - its quite wrong to associate science as the "real achievers". Why is a r rahman not a real achiever? Achievement is an achievement even if he had tactically played it to the limelight ...

You may want to re consider the way you hit back on some one when you are excited about the other !

from:  sreekrishnan
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 03:25 IST

Mr. Gurumanickam, I am glad by the message of your article. I believe that it is the scientists who are the wheels of a nation's progress. In an economy, like ours, mostly driven by mundane industries which rely on the technologies of the west, importance of scientists is greatly diminished. However, celebrating the achievements of Mr. Bose and others in the form of a holiday holds no significance either.

from:  Arun Raina
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 02:54 IST

Pretty similar, is the case of a great Indian iPad being released to the world as this moment... the Notion Ink, a very well designed iPad raved @ CES '2011 and not many indian news papers are covering it. Made by IIT Kharagpur grads' this device is a scientists dream. And yet very few in India know about it. A fan website moderated by an American

from:  Anand Shah
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 02:51 IST

In our country, the only people remembered are politicians,sports/movie stars, and the rich. Rarely we appreciate other professions. Once in a while we pretend to admire Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa. Our attitude lies in our culture. Science and research is not a recognized field culturally other than in academics. Even when we do, our memories are too short. In a news paper or television, we only see the above mentioned. Nice article. I learned something new today.

from:  Siril
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 02:16 IST

Very nice article. It is very sad that students are not taught and made aware of these things at the school level itself. It is extremely important that students understand the historical aspect of scientific developments to completely appreciate them.

from:  AK Aswinkarthik
Posted on: Jan 9, 2011 at 02:13 IST
Show all comments
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note: Submissions on the Open Page are the extended comments of readers and in no way do they reflect the views of The Hindu.... »



Recent Article in Open Page

The blame for litter

Imagine standing at any of the international airports in India and asking those Indians who are returning from abroad a simple question:... »