The recent doodle by Google on Satyandranath Bose led to a series of question in Rene’s mind. Find out in this story of Papa and Rene how Rene feels proud after knowing the story of this great Indian scientist.
By Somashis Gupta
“Papa – Rene Series”
Starring: Triparni Das as Rene
It was the 4th of June. I was enlightening myself with the 9th volume of ‘A paper of Thomas A. Edison – competing interest’ when I heard Rene rushing through the corridor. I knew a series of question follows, and as expected ….
“PAPAAAA who is this in Google?” she asked. Her eyebrows almost reached her forehead showing her excitement. I took her laptop and found a new Google doodle.
“Ah! It is nice to see Google recognizing him on this day” I replied “This my dear, is Satyandranath Bose”
“And who is he?” asked Rene
“He was a scientist”
“But he is an Indian isn’t he?” There was a doubt in her tone. I realized the reason is probably because it is rare to find an Indian scientist these days. The educational system in our country produces just another ‘another brick in the wall’.
“Yes he was an Indian” I replied “besides various others his most prominent achievement is the Bose-Einstein Condensate.”
“I don’t understand” Rene expressed “what is all this Bose-Einstein Condensate?”
I handed her a paper weight and asked “What is this?”
“It is a paper weight” she replied
“Yes, now what state it is in?” I asked again.
“I don’t understand” Rene looked confused “what state means?”
“Is it solid, liquid or gar?”
“It’s solid no doubt” Rene answered playing with the paperweight.
“Right you are” I took the paper weight and gave her my Makaibari tea cup, “now what is this”
“This is Tea Papa” she laughed “and before you ask, it is in liquid state.”
“Good, now tell me how is the food cooked by Mama, I mean what is burnt for cooking?”
“Gas” she looked happy, as she replied. I knew it is because of the word ‘cooking’, she loves food in any form at any time of the day.
“Absolutely” I confirmed “and all these solid, liquid and gas are made out of atoms”
“Yes I know Papa. I read about it” Rene said “atom is what makes matters. It is the smallest unit without release of any energy.”
“Correct” I continued “Atoms exist in various states, at high temperature it transforms to gas, if you cool the gas it becomes liquid and if you cool the liquid it becomes solid.”
“Yes Papa” Rene agreed.
“Good, now the same atom under certain circumstances when cooled to absolute zero that is -273.15 degree centigrade, they undergo a very strange transformation. They undergo an identity crisis.”
“Identity crisis?” asked a confused Rene.
“Let me explain. A French physicist, named Louis de Broglie, in his 1924 PhD paper, suggested that all matters have wave property due to the electrons. This happens to the bosons …”
“Bosons?” Rene interrupted.
“Bosons are such atoms whose protons, neutrons and electrons sum up to an even number. Let me give you an example” I took a paper and told her “you know Helium right?”
“Yes Papa, when hydrogen breaks in Sun it changes to Helium (He)”
“Wow you know this?” I was impressed “now Helium has 2 protons, 2 neutrons and 2 electrons if you add them up it is 6 which is even hence Helium is a boson”
“I see, but Papa why is it called boson?” Rene asked.
“The name boson was coined by Paul Dirac to commemorate the contribution of Satyandranath Bose, the man in the doodle you showed me”
“He seems to be a great personality” Rene said “I already feel proud”
“And you should be” I said “anyways so as I was saying once you cool bosons to absolute Zero, it lose its identity and starts behaving like a super atom and moves like waves” I continued “A French Physicist named Louis de Broglie concluded that any matter which has linear momentum is also a wave”
“Oh! I see but how is this relevant to what you were saying about Bose Einstein Condensate” Rene asked.
“You see Satyandranath Bose had sent a letter to Albert Einstein giving his calculation, wait I think I have a copy of that letter” I took out my files and showed her this letter.
“In this letter he introduced some new form of statistical calculation. Einstein worked on this and predicted 5th state of matter.”
“Wow this gives me Goosebumps”
I smiled and started looking for a book which I felt Rene should read. But I was interrupted by Rene. “Papa is this something related to God Particle?” Rene hazarded a guess.
“Yes indeed” I continued “however ‘God Particle’ is an unscientific term, the name is Higgs Boson”.
“Oh I see than why is it called God Particle?”
“You see it took nearly 50 years and the most complex machine human kind has ever built” I explained “it was such an elusive thing that one physicist, Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, wanted to name his book on this as ‘The Goddamn Particle’. But the publisher asked him to drop the ‘damn’ word, and that is how this name ‘God Particle’ became more popular.”
“Oh! So it has nothing to do with God?” Rene asked
“No, Higgs Boson has nothing to do with the concept of God” I confirmed.
“Hmm….It gives me a new perspective” Rene expressed.
“Did you know Satyandranath Bose was a student of Jagadish Chandra Bose?” I asked Rene.
“You mean Jagadish Chandra Bose who is the father of 5G technology?”
“Yes, I am happy that you know this, let that be a story for another day.”
“Okay Papa” saying this Rene left my study, leaving me in deep thoughts. Thoughts on how very little is known about these great scientists our country. I promised myself to tell Rene more about them and provide her with more such knowledge. After all it is only knowledge will help develop a better human and in turn make a better society free of superstations.
What's Your Reaction?
A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.