Satyendra Nath Bose
39 years ago today, one of the most crucial figures in the development of quantum statistics and modern physics died. Bose’s ideas were so groundbreaking that Einstein built up on them to develop a new type of quantum mechanics, known as Bose-Einstein statistics.
Ever heard of bosons? These bad boys, subatomic particles of a finite mass and the type of particles governed by Bose-Einstein statistics, are named after Bose.
One particular interesting story about Bose was that, in 1924, he wrote a paper called “Planck’s Law and Hypothesis of Light Quanta.” He hoped that it would be published in the respected German physics journal Zeitschrift für Physik. However, Bose couldn’t translate it into German himself, so he sent it off to the first person he thought of that knew German - Albert Einstein (they were strangers at the time), who was so impressed that he personally translated it for Bose. His request to Einstein read:
I do not know sufficient German to translate the paper. If you think the paper is worth publication I shall be grateful if you arrange for its publication in Zeitschrift für Physik. Though a complete stranger to you, I do not feel any hesitation in making such a request. Because we are all your pupils though profiting only by your teachings through your writings. I do not know whether you still remember that somebody from Calcutta asked your permission to translate your papers on Relativity in English. You acceded to the request. The book has since been published. I was the one who translated your paper on Generalised Relativity.