Of Boson, Bengal, God and His No-Name Particles

Bose with His Esraj (FYI: Bose was from India and so was Esraj)

Note: Professor Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, another world-renowned intellectual originally from Calcutta and Bengal, read this blog and wrote me a message of support.

She wrote:

“He [Prof. S. N. Bose] came quite a few times to our house. He was our Satyen [uncle] because he was friends with Montu [uncle] (Dilip Kumar Roy, Mother’s 1st cousin). If I remember right (these are very old memories), he sat on the floor of the living room and sang with us. A very simple man, absolutely unassuming.”
_______

I am writing about the Boson half of the now-famous Higgs-Boson — the God Particle.

I’m writing about kind of the half-life of the half-word: like, how it evaporates — in this case, quite rapidly, as if it never existed.

No, it’s not a scientific article; I do not have the necessary qualifications to write about physics, particle physics, mathematics or statistics.

I’m writing about Professor S. N. Bose — an unassuming physicist-mathematician from Bengal — who first conceptualized the Bosons, with help from Albert Einstein. I’m writing about my frustration about Western media’s near-zero coverage of Prof. Bose, even when they’re going gaga about Higgs, Boson and the so-called discovery of God Particle.

I’m writing about a historic, predictable pattern of Western media and establishment’s way of reporting, underreporting and no-reporting of news: how they selectively report and include their preferred facts and names behind the facts, and at the same time, exclude or downplay their non-preferred facts and names behind the facts.

Western media — especially British and American media — have always done it. I shall cite some examples out of a long list we have. I could talk about how New York Times repeatedly mentioned Rabindranath Tagore as Babindranath Tagore (Read Dutta and Robinson: Rabindranath Tagore the Myriad-Minded Man). But I shall concentrate for now on the media exclusion of Prof. S. N. Bose from Calcutta and Dhaka — from West Bengal, now India and East Bengal, now Bangladesh. (By the way, these are the two halves the British cut open and severely bled when they left India after two hundred years of occupation, brutality and pauperization — that’s a story I told a number of times already — on this blog and many other places.)

It is unbelievable that in this 24/7 hyped-up coverage of Higgs-Boson, the so-called global media do not find any serious obligation to tell their global audience what in the world this strange name Boson came from, even when they’re telling big stories about Professor Higgs and what kind of a major genius the British scientist is. (I have no dispute about Prof. Higgs’ genius.)

Bose was from Calcutta and Dhaka (now you know what media says about those God-damn places, right?)

Briefly, it’s like this. Someone hears or reads a news item about Higgs-Boson — also known as the God Particle. A reader or viewer, or two, have this question in their mind, and they ask their Media God (actually, nobody asks: media decides what to say and what not to say, or how much to say it):

“Dear Media God, can you please tell us what or who Higgs-Boson is?”

The Media God replies: (actually, I borrowed the description below from Wikipedia):

“The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is a proposed elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. The Higgs boson is named after Peter Higgs who, along with others, proposed the mechanism that predicted such a particle in 1964. The existence of the Higgs boson and the associated Higgs field explain why the other massive elementary particles in the standard model have their mass. […] The Higgs field interaction is the simplest mechanism which explains why some elementary particles have mass. The Higgs boson—the smallest possible excitation of the Higgs field—has been the target of a long search in particle physics. One of the primary design goals of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland—one of the most complicated scientific instruments ever built— was to test the existence of the Higgs boson and measure its properties.

Because of its role in a fundamental property of elementary particles, the Higgs boson has been referred to as the “God particle” in popular culture, although virtually all scientists regard this as a hyperbole. According to the Standard Model, the Higgs particle is a boson, a type of particle that allows multiple identical particles to exist in the same place in the same quantum state. Furthermore, the model posits that the particle has no intrinsic spin, no electric charge, and no colour charge. It is also very unstable, decaying almost immediately after its creation.

On 4 July 2012, the CMS and the ATLAS experimental collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider announced that they observed a new particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson, noting that further data and analysis were needed before the particle could be positively identified.”

Great!

At this point, most of the readers and viewers would be satisfied and resign to the dinner table. Just a handful of obstinate and stubborn people would not be satisfied, and ask:

“But Dear Media God, what then is Boson? Where did the name come from? I like that name — Boson. Could you please tell us, Oh Dear Media God, what the hell Boson is?”

But Media God would now be silent.

I just heard that Tagore, Satyajit Ray and Amartya Sen were also from Bengal. Like, are you kidding me?

See, even in the detailed Wikipedia description, there is no mention of the fact that this no-name Esraj-playing scientist from some God-damn corner of God-damn India and God-damn Bangladesh actually conceptualized the Boson particle way back when — in 1924 or something — through a series of pers. comm.’s (personal communications) with Western scientific and political establishment’s poster child Einstein (no disrespect for the great genius here, believe me!). But science? Physics? Quantum physics? Statistics? In Calcutta? Dhaka? Like, when did they learn how to read and write, let alone do science?

See, nobody except for a handful of obstinate and stubborn people would even suspect that Boson had a lot to do with Bose — this guy from a dilapidated corner of British-partitioned, blood-soaked Bengal — if you only go by the Wikipedia or as of today, major Western media: print, TV, radio or the Internet.

God, His God Particle and all such major discoveries and prizes — such as the Nobel Prize — would be owned, re-owned and renewedly re-owned by God’s preferred men, women and children. Western establishments and media — along with their clone Indian establishments and media — will make sure it happens that way.

So, because they’re not going to do it, let’s see if we can educate and enlighten ourselves on our way. Here’s what I learned over the past few days since the Higgs-Boson news broke big time. Not that I understood it all. But like Sheriff Andy Taylor’s deputy Bernie Fife said to him, I knew “It’s big…like…real big!”

In the Standard Model of particle physics, the Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle that “belongs to a class of particles known as bosons, characterized by an integer value of their spin quantum number.” The term “boson” is related to the forgotten Indian contribution to the discovery. It owes its name to Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist from Kolkata, whose pioneering work in the field in the early 1920s changed the way particle physics had been approached. (Quoted from: http://www.ibtimes.com — read the full article here on this link.)

Just couldn’t resist showing these two men together.

The above article writes more about his fortuitous connection with Einstein:

“Born in 1894, Bose specialized in mathematical physics. He became a lecturer at the University of Calcutta in 1916 and joined the Dhaka University as Professor of Physics in 1921. While teaching the theory of radiation and ultraviolet catastrophe at the University of Dhaka, Bose attempted to show his students that the predicted results did not match the existing derivations of Planck’s radiation law. He made a simple mistake, which accidentally gave rise to a third prediction that produced accurate results! He derived Planck’s blackbody radiation law without the use of classical electrodynamics as Planck himself had done. He later developed a logically satisfactory derivation based entirely on Einstein’s photon concept and sent his paper on quantum statistics to a British journal, which refused to publish it, calling it erroneous.

Rejection of his paper might have frustrated Bose but he sent it it to Albert Einstein himself, with a request to arrange its publication in ‘Zeitschrift für Physik’.”

[…]

Einstein immediately grasped the immense significance of Bose’s paper, translated it into German and published it in the August 1924 issue of Zeitschrift für Physik under the title, “Plancksgesetz Lichtquantenhypothese” (the English title was “Planck’s Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis”). He also added the following comment to Bose’s article:

“Bose’s derivative of Planck’s formula appears to me to be an important step forward. The method used here gives also the quantum theory of an ideal gas, as I shall show elsewhere.”

Einstein later applied Bose’s method to give the theory of the ideal quantum gas, and predicted the phenomenon of Bose-Einstein condensation that became a basis of quantum mechanics.

As Amit Chaudhuri explains in The Guardian, “Einstein saw that it had profound implications for physics; that it had opened the way for this subatomic particle, which he named, after his Indian collaborator, ‘boson‘.”

Bose’s discovery, along with its subsequent development by the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, provided the basis of categorizing the fundamental particles into two groups – “bosons” after Bose and “fermions” after Fermi.” (End of article excerpt).

Great too!

Prof. Bose lived in this house in Calcutta. We used to see him on our way to school.

See, the entire set of facts was published in an Indian publication and written by an Indian author named Kukil Bora (and he quotes another Indian author who wrote in the Guardian, a “lefty” paper). I can’t thank him enough. But what do you think: at this important time when the entire, civilized and developed Western world and its media publish so many stories on Higgs-Boson, shouldn’t they also have reported on the Boson half of Higgs-Boson?

Like I said before, it’s a historic, predictable pattern of Western establishment’s coverage of facts — according to their preference. Very soon, after some initial “disrespectful” reporting, their clone Indian media and establishment would also sweep the Bose and Boson half of the Higgs-Boson particle, by God’s Grace, under the eternally oblivious rug.

Acharya J. C. Bose, legendary scientist and author (and a close friend of Tagore) with students such as S. N. Bose and Meghnad Saha

Just like another Indian scientist Sir J. C. Bose’s name was erased from global memory, first by British media and then by Indians (read article here — click on this link), Prof. S. N. Bose’s name would also be erased from global memory, first by the Euro-American media and then by their clone Indian corporate media.

Neither S. N. Bose nor J. C. Bose was awarded the Nobel Prize (in fact, there’s strong evidence that J. C. Bose was denied by the then-European rulers of India of his invention of the radio — in favor of Marconi — see the article I linked in the above paragraph). And, then, a whole host of Bengali and Indian writers and scientists were bypassed by the Nobel and other international awards committees for we often say and we all know, prejudice, bias and political reasons. Like, Gandhi was never awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (but Kissinger was)! That tradition is on.

There will be some no-name reporting in some no-name publications; but God’s no-name particles rising from this no-name, God-damn, pauperized corner of the globe would soon be erased from human memory by the global media and their puppet masters.

Boson’s connection with Bose, Bose’s connection with Bengal and India, and all these no-name God’s particles from those God-damn, uncivilized corners of the world will remain just like that — no-name — by God’s Grace.

Or, at least, by the grace of God’s more civilized children from the Western half of the world.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

I remember seeing them when I was a pre-teen. They lived right next to our Scottish Church School in North Calcutta.

17 thoughts on “Of Boson, Bengal, God and His No-Name Particles

  1. Good post to make people who are unaware about the contributions of JC Bose and SN Bose to the world of science and technology. Your crticism about Western Media and British manipulation of denying Nebel prize to JC Bose or SN Bose however is too poorly constructed to appeal to logic. First, if Wikipedia is Western Media media , then all personal sites and on-line dictionaries are also Western Media. This is silly classification. Second, Wkipedia allows Indians as much any others to help Wikipedia’s pieces – if Indians or Bengalis do not have the initiative, that is not the fault of the western media or wikipedia which actually put together articles prepared by people voluntarily.
    Third, if you are a Wikipedia user in the real sense, you would have clicked boson word in Higgs Boson article piece, you would have got to another page of Wikipedia, you would have read: ‘In particle physics, bosons ( /ˈboʊsɒn/[1]) are subatomic particles with integer spin (i.e., angular momentum in quantum-mechanical units of 0, 1, etc.) that are governed by Bose-Einstein statistics. The name boson was coined by Paul Dirac.[2] He derived it from the surname of the Indian physicist, Satyendra Nath Bose, a contemporary of the German physicist Albert Einstein.[3][4] Bosons include mesons (e.g., pions and kaons), stable nuclei of even mass number (e.g., deuterium (hydrogen-2), helium-4, lead-208),[Note 1] and the particles required to embody the fields of quantum field theory (e.g., photons and gluons). Bosons differ significantly from a group of subatomic particles known as fermions in that there is no limit to the number that can occupy the same quantum state. This behaviour gives rise, for example, to the remarkable properties of helium-4 when it is cooled to become a superfluid.’ Your criticism would be interpreted as deliberate suppression of fact to malign anything in the West except the person named Partha Banerjee.
    Fifth, Higgs was only one of at least eight scientists (none of them got Nobel prize for the Higgs Boson) who came to the same conclusion around the same time but the theoretically requirement of a particle that imparts mass to other particles for the Standard Model to have better explanatory power was named after Higgs. Even the Western media is quoted in Indian media reporting that Higgs had said that Higgs boson should have been named after all the Eight by taking the first letter of each of these eight scientists.
    Sixth, that Boson was named after SN Bose is well-known among the Particle Physics Scientists and even laymen like us also have come to know of this from yoyur so-called western media, especially since the collider experiement project was taken up. Maybe western media has given out the names of hundreds of scientists who were associated with various parts of design, software and other compents of the reserach project including the execution of the facility at CERN but missed to include at least five Bengali physicists of Kolkata who worked for the project. Yu can check this with a report in Anandabazar of 6 July and 5 July.
    Seventh, most people including the media get excited with live icons for their contribution to a sensation event decades later – this is true of any press – Western of Eastern.
    It is good to be a crique of Western media or Eastern media: but such criticisms must look and contain more logic than emotion, especially when the reports relate to frontiers of Science today. S

    Still it is a good post, and for once the IMF Economic Terrorism was not identified as cause of the denying justice in publicity of SN Bose when something apparently close and hence suspected Higgs Boson has been observed in a laboratory of high-enery particle collision.

    1. Thank you for your response, as always. However, your knowledge notwithstanding, I cannot agree with your premise that what I wrote was more about emotion and less about logic. Perhaps I should get away from my literary shell and be more explicit about the fact that I write not for scholars and academics like you (who do not get the literary and subtle aspects of my writing), but rather for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people out there who get perplexed every single day as to what establishment, power and media deliver us vis-a-vis what they don’t, and why. Sorry, but you obviously failed to make that connection.

  2. hi,

    punch into google search JAGDISH CHANDRA BOSE , NOBEL PRIZE AND RACISM- VADAKAYIL

    also

    GOD PARTICLE NONSENSE – VADAKAYIL

    capt ajit vadakayil
    ..

  3. Indian media has gone overly public over the fact that S N. Bose has not got the recognition he should have in today’s landmark discovery at CERN…they have retorted rather strongly and no matter how much Western Media bypasses Bose and his stupendous work, fact remains that his contribution toward the discovery of the God Particle cannot be taken away from him and he will always be remembered in the right circles for it..

    1. Sure. But nobody outside of India would ever know. That is the ultimate tragedy. We can be spiritual about not caring to know what the rest of the world thinks about us and our contribution to this human civilization, but that spirituality doesn’t help our Westernized children who do not know about our identity and history. In fact, this Western exclusion is in action to keep them in dark. Plus, it shows how little the West cares about what we think, how we feel and how much we scream about the injustice. And this is major injustice — although silent and subtle. This exclusion and undermining is an important part of the neocolonialism that’s occupying places like India.

  4. I think Indian scientific community and govt should put effort to send his name from nobel prizes and that should be starting point.

    If Bose’s idea is the founding principle for these discoveries and theories then why he is ignored and not recognized. Publication and awareness makes it different so lets start it now

    1. Absolutely: why is he being ignored? He must be recognized for his incredible genius and discoveries. As far as Nobel Prize, they don’t award people posthumously; therefore, S. N. Bose wouldn’t qualify. But recognition worldwide can be in many different shapes and forms. Media and political establishments must begin the process of recognition.

  5. Partha, I have found that if you want something done right, then you have to do it yourself. I think that you should send this to the different media outlets. We, your readers, will try and do our part by sharing this on facebook.

  6. Since you are not a physicist,I can make a correction of many wrong statements given by you.

    First,Boson particle was named by English physicist Paul Dirac,not Einstein.

    SN Bose never won Nobel because he was never nominated for Nobel during his life time as he never tried to make any connection with European scientist.Before 1950 only 3 Indian were nominated for Nobel in science-Raman and Saha in Physics,UN Bramhachari in medicine.

    Every Physicist around the world knows the name of Bose and so far 12 persons have won Nobel prize related to BEC and his statistics.

    JC Bose lost his way because he never patented for any of his inventions-but now IEEE has accepted all his achievements.

    Remember Einstein never won Nobel for his relativity,but actually Eddington won-but the whole world knows Albert for his pioneering relativity.

    Inventors like Nikola Tesla had not won Nobel…Leo Tolstoy,arguably the greatest poet of all time never won Nobel,Mendeleev was never awarded Nobel who created the abcd of Chemistry.

    But do you know Physician Subhas Mukhopadhya-he is a bengali and created the most sophisticated technique of test tube baby working without a lab in Kolkata, 67 days after the first test tube baby was born in Britain by Edward and Stetope.In 2010 Edwards won the Nobel as Stetope died long ago…but DR. Mukhopadhya had to commit suicide in Kolkata in 1981 due to his peers,Bengal and Indian goverment and thus we lost another genuine Nobel in science.So before blaming others we should discuss our own faults regarding that topic…Always ask yourself…Apart from Bengal how many people in India have heard the name of SN Bose???

  7. As Amit Chaudhuri explains in The Guardian, “Einstein saw that it had profound implications for physics; that it had opened the way for this subatomic particle, which he named, after his Indian collaborator, ‘boson‘.”

    Sorry, but the name Boson was coined by Dirac, not Einstein.

    1. Thank you for writing and clarifying. The primary focus of this article, however, is Prof. Bose and media’s exclusion of his genius. Even today, when Higgs gets the Nobel Prize, New York Times does not spend even a word about Bose.

  8. It is good that someone is trying to make us remember the great scientist from India, the man who created a whole world of possibilities in the field of theoretical physics, lacking the support of a decent lab by any standard….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s