Results of the Science Contest ‘Who is Satyendra Bose?’

The kids did a fantastic job in responding to the science contest ‘Who is Satyendra Bose?’. All the entries were great, and as you can imagine it was tough to pick one of them as best.

Denesh Chandrahasan, a 11th grade student from Montclair, CA submitted the winning entry. He will receive the book “Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time”  by Michio Kaku. Please join us in congratulating Denesh. You may add your congratulations and any other encouraging comments using the comments link at the end of this post.

You may see all the responses by clicking on the ‘comments’ link  below the post ‘Who is Satyendra Bose?’. We also reproduced Denesh’ winning entry below for easy reference.

Here are the names of all the children, who poured their hearts, and responded enthusiastically to the contest in alphabetical order of their first names. Congratulations to all the respondents, and wish them good luck in their pursuit of excellence. We also recognize that for every kid who submitted, there are 10 other kids who made an attempt, but not able to submit for a variety of reasons. Wish them good luck in their future endeavors and encourage them to respond to future Science, Math and other posts.

1. Ansh Sawant, 7th grade student, Raleigh, NC

2. Bharath Hegde, 7th grade student, Plainsboro, NJ

3. Denesh Chandrahasan, 11th grade student, Montclair, CA

4. Mukund Chandrahasan, 10th grade student, Montclair, CA

5. Pranavh Pradeep, 4th grade student, Atlanta, GA

6. Rithwik Guntaka, 6th grade student, Atlanta, GA

7. Rohith Hegde, 10th grade student, Plansboro, NJ

8. Samhitha Yeleti, 3rd grade student, Atlanta, GA

9. Shyamala Subramanian, 9th grade student, Edison, NJ

10. Yash Gupta, 7th grade student, Princeton Junction, NJ

Congratulations again to these scientific souls! And, don’t forget to read their responses.

Here is Denesh’ winning entry:

While presenting a lecture at the University of Dhaka on the theory of radiation and the ultraviolet catastrophe, Satyendra Nath Bose (a renowned Indian physics professor whose contributions resulted in the discovery of the Higgs Boson ) intended to show his students that the theory at that time was inadequate, because it predicted results not in compliance with experimental results. During this lecture, Bose actually committed an error in applying the theory, which unexpectedly gave a prediction that agreed with the experiment (he later adapted this lecture into a short article called Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta).‘

The derivation of Planck’s formula during Bose’s time had not been to Planck’s satisfaction, and Einstein too was unhappy with it. Bose was able to derive the formula for radiation from Boltzmann’s statistics as a result of his error and wrote a scientific paper on it. The paper, and his method of deriving Planck’s radiation formula, was enthusiastically endorsed by Einstein who saw at once that Bose had removed a major objection against light quanta. This paper was only four pages long but it was highly significant. This tiny but important article brought about a great change in the life of Satyendra.

Bose sent his paper to the philosophical magazine but to his disappointment this time his paper was turned down. Under these circumstances, Bose re-sent the paper to Albert Einstein in June 1924, with an 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.

Einstein immediately recognized the significance of this paper; this paper was going to revolutionize his theory of photoelectric effect. Einstein himself translated Bose’s paper into German and sent it to a popular scientific journal (Zeitschrift für Physik) with his endorsement for publication. With his eminent and influential status, Einstein’s words carried much weight. It was promptly published, and immediately Bose shot into prominence.

Bose’s “error” is now called Bose–Einstein statistics. This result derived by Bose laid the foundation of quantum statistics, as acknowledged by Einstein and Dirac. S. N. Bose’s work on particle statistics which clarified the behavior of photons (the particles of light in an enclosure) and opened the door to new ideas on statistics of Microsystems that obey the rules of quantum theory, was one of the top ten achievements of 20th century Indian science. In honor of Bose, scientist Paul Dirac coined a word called ‘Boson’ for those particles which obey Bose’s statistics. This was an extraordinary honor that brought recognition to Bose and India’s scientific prowess as a whole.

Decades later, in 1964, a British scientist Peter Higgs would return from a walk in the Scottish mountains to tell his colleagues that he had just experienced his “one big idea”, which could hold a clue to how matter in the universe got its mass in the billionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Higgs eventually came up with his theory of the Higgs boson, a boson that gives mass to all other subatomic particles that happen to interact with it in a ‘Higgs field’. The more they interact, the heavier they become; the ones that don’t interact don’t gather mass.

As Wichita State University physics professor Nick Solomey says, “What excites me the most about the Higgs boson discovery is that we now know that there’s a Higgs field that’s present. And this Higgs field could be like the electromagnetic field, where we’re actually able to manipulate it to have control over magnetic and electromagnetic interactions. Can we now have some control over the interaction of mass?”

All of this is thanks to the dedication and the enormous contributions that scientist Satyendra Nath Bose made to the field of physics, revolutionizing science as a whole.