- Born: 6 October 1893, Shaoratoli, Dhaka (present-day Bangladesh)
- Work / Post: Astronomist (Astrophysicist)
- Achievements: Formulation of Saha equation, Theory of thermal ionization, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
Who Was Meghnad Saha ?
Meghnad Saha was a great astronomer of India. He has an unforgettable contribution in the field of astronomy. The impact of his research in the field of astronomy was far-reaching and many of the later research was based on his theories.
The Saha equation attracted worldwide attention, and this summation beca
me the basis for a detailed study of the stellar atmosphere. Saha was a freedom fighter along with an astronomer. He also had significant contribution in the field of Indian calendar. The committee worked towards removing these differences and contradictions.
Saha was born on 6 October 1893 in a poor family in the village of Shaoratoli, about 45 km from Dhaka (present-day Bangladesh). His father's name was Jagannath Saha and mother's name was Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was the fifth child of his parents. Saha's grocer father wanted him to help him in the business, but the promising Meghnad did not approve of it. He got his early education from the village's primary school and later the Dhaka's Collegiate School.
Meghnad Saha was able to pursue his schooling due to the generosity of a local doctor, Anant Kumar Das. Das provided him with boarding and lodging facilities at his home.
In the year 1905, the British Government decided to partition Bengal. At this time Meghnad Saha was studying in Dhaka's Collegiate School. Meanwhile, the Governor of East Bengal came to visit the Collegiate School.
Saha and his friends boycotted her visit due to which she was suspended from school and her scholarship also expired. Meghnad then enrolled in Kishori Lal Jubilee School. He attained the highest position (in East Bengal) in the entrance examination of the University of Kolkata in the year 1909 and earned the highest marks in language and mathematics.
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Meghnad then attended Dhaka College. In 1913, he graduated from the Presidency College, Kolkata with a mathematics subject and finished second in the University of Kolkata - Satyendranath Bose got the first place. In 1915, Meghnad Saha and SN Bose both finished first in MSc - Meghnad Saha in Applied Mathematics and SN Bose Pure Mathematics.
While studying at the Presidency College, Meghnad Saha also joined the Anushilan Committee to participate in the independence movement. He also came in contact with nationalist leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose and Rajendra Prasad.
Saha was very lucky to find a talented teacher and classmate. Satyendra Nath Bose, Gyan Ghosh and JN Mukherjee were his classmates. Famous mathematician Amiya Chandra Banerjee was very close to him at Allahabad University.
In the year 1917, Saha was appointed as a professor in the University College of Science, Kolkata. There he taught quantum physics. Together with SN Bose, he translated research papers written by Einstein and Minkowski into English.
A research paper by Meghnad Saha appeared in the American Astrophysical Journal in 1919. In this research paper Saha formulated the 'ionization formula'. This was a new discovery in the field of astrophysics, whose impact was far-reaching and many of the later research was based on his theories. Saha then went abroad for 2 years and did research work at Imperial College, London and a research laboratory in Germany.
Saha also played an important role in establishing the Physics Department of Allahabad University. In the year 1938, he returned to Science College, Kolkata.
He founded a journal called Science and Culture and was its editor till the last moment. He also contributed significantly in the establishment of several important scientific committees. Prominent among them are National Academy of Science (1930), Indian Physical Society (1934) and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (1944).
He also emphasized the inclusion of the subject of nuclear physics in the curriculum of higher education. After seeing the use of cyclotrons for research in nuclear physics abroad, he expanded to establish a cyclotron at his institute which resulted in his first working cyclotron in 1950 in India.
His name also appears in important research conducted on the Halley comet.
In the year 1952, he stood as an independent candidate in the parliamentary elections and won the election with a large margin.
Saha was married to Radharani in the year 1918. He had three sons and three daughters. One of his sons went on to become a professor at the Institute of Nuclear Physics.
He died prematurely from a heart attack on 16 February 1956.
Meghnath ji had his early education at the Collegiate School in Dhaka. He was very promising since childhood and also surprised the teachers with his questions. His teachers also recognized his unique talent, so he asked Meghnad ji's brother to continue his further studies, after which his brother collected money for his brother's education with the help of a local doctor.
However, after seeing Meghnad ji's ability, he also started getting scholarship, after which he studied at Dhaka College. After this Meghnad Saha completed his BSc graduation at Presidency College, Kolkata. From 1923 to 1938, Meghnath ji served as Professor in Allahabad University.
After this, he remained Professor and Dean of the Science Faculty at Calcutta University from 1956 until his death. In the year 1927, Meghnath Saha ji was appointed as a member of the Royal Society and in 1934 he served as the President of the Indian Science Congress.