posted on Jul, 5 2012 @ 02:26 PM
I just came across this article which i thought of sharing.
The Higgs bit we know. But the boson? Western science is overlooking India’s contribution With yesterday’s announcement of the latest
findings in the search for the Higgs boson, the elusive particle is on everyone’s mind. This kind of fame is relatively rare, even for important
scientific discoveries; but the Higgs boson has been called, or miscalled, the God particle, enabling it to pass into the realm of popular scientific
lore, like the discovery of the smallpox vaccine, the structure of DNA, or the theory of relativity. It would be difficult for most people to
understand its significance, just as it would be to comprehend the notion of relativity, but such problems are overcome by locating science in
personalities as well as cultural and national traditions. The first thing that you and I know about the Higgs boson is that it’s named after Peter
Higgs, a physicist at Edinburgh University who made the discovery — although the original insight, in one of those recurrent back stories of
science, was Philip Anderson’s. Still, we have Higgs, and Edinburgh, and western civilisation to fall back on. The rest — “the Higgs boson is a
hypothetical elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. It belongs to a class of particles known as bosons ...” — we
needn’t worry too much about. But maybe we should worry just enough to ask, “What is a boson?” since the word tends to come up as soon as Higgs
does. Is it, an ignoramus such myself would ask, akin to an atom or a molecule? It is, in fact, along with the fermion (named after Enrico Fermi), one
of the two fundamental classes of subatomic particles.
The word must surely have some European genealogy? In fact, “boson” is derived from Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist from Kolkata who, in
1924, realised that the statistical method used to analyse most 19th-century work on the thermal behaviour of gases was inadequate.
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.'
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.
Continued here: www.thehindu.com...
edit on 5-7-2012 by flyingdonkey because: (no reason given)
edit on 5-7-2012 by flyingdonkey because: (no reason