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Meghnad Saha

Meghnad SahaMeghnad Saha was born on the 6th of October, 1893 in a village named Shaoratoli near Dhaka in Bangladesh. His father Jagannath Saha was a grocer in the village. Meghnad was acquainted with extreme poverty from his early days. He was admitted in the primary school of the village and had to attend the family shop and manage time to go to school. After primary education, he got admitted into a middle school which was seven miles away from his village. He started staying in a doctor`s house near the school and had to work in that house to maintain the cost of living. He ranked first in the Dhaka middle school test.

In 1909, he was admitted to Dhaka College and in 1911 he ranked third in the ISC exam. In the same year the first rank in ISC exam was taken by another famous personality , Satyendranath Bose. Both of them took admission in Presidency College with Mathematics honours. In those days Presidency college was a center of academic talents. Among his teachers were Jagadishchandra Bose, Prafulla Chandra Roy etc. His batch mates included S.N.Bose, Jnanchandra Ghosh and P.C.Mahalanbis who was one year senior. In Presidency College, Meghnad met Subhash Chandra Bose. In 1913 he graduated from Presidency College with Mathematics major and got the second rank in the University of Calcutta whereas the first one was taken by S.N. Bose. In 1915, both S.N.Bose and Meghnad ranked first in M.Sc. exam, Meghnad in Applied Mathematics and Bose in Pure Mathematics.

Meghnad decided to do research in Physics and Applied Mathematics. But there was no proper infrastructure in Calcutta University for higher research. In 1916, Sir Asutosh Mukherjee requested Meghnad and Satyendranath to teach in the newly established Science College. There was pressure from students for including new sections in higher studies curriculum in science subjects. Most of the new development in Physics were being done in European countries like Germany. Meghnad`s duty was to teach Quantum Mechanics. Within few days of starting teaching, Saha and Bose translated the papers published in German by Einstein and Minkowski on relativity into English versions. Later this was published as a book from Calcutta University.

Saha Institute of Nuclear PhysicsIn 1927, Meghnad was elected as a fellow of London`s Royal Society. He wanted to set up a modern research laboratory in Calcutta University, but was not very successful. He moved to Allahabad University and in 1932 Uttarpradesh Academy of Science was established. He returned to Science College, Calcutta in 1938. During this time Saha got interested in Nuclear Physics. In 1947, he established Institute of Nuclear Physics which later was named after him as Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. He took the first effort to include Nuclear Physics in the curriculum of higher studies of science. For the sake of development of science he joined politics and in 1951 was elected as a member of the Parliament. This great scientist died in 1956.

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