If Peter Higgs was the one half of the Higgs boson particle, Satyendra Nath Bose was the other. But on Thursday morning, when the world lapped up details of the Higgs boson, the neighbourhood of Bose remained blissfully untouched.
Many wrong turns and ‘who Satyen’ later, HT finally found the house in north Kolkata’s Ishwar Mill Lane. Gopal Biswas, who gave directions, said, “I have heard a scientist used to live here. He perhaps discovered the radio.”
The radio was discovered by another Bose — Jagadish Chandra — also from Kolkata.
Bose’s son, the 79-year-old Rathindranath Bose, appeared immune to the city’s forgetfulness.
“How many Nobel laureates do you remember? Getting a Nobel is not the be all and end all of a scientist,” he said.
“But anybody who wants to study physics cannot afford to bypass my father. Even (Mahatma) Gandhi did not get the peace award or (Leo) Tolstoy, the one for literature.”
Let alone a Nobel, Bose never even received a doctorate, though other scientists were honoured for research based on his work.
Even so, this 200-year-old house is still a shrine for scientists. Rathindranath especially remembers Wolfgang Ketterle, the Nobel winning German physicist, who considered it a duty to drop by when he visited the city in early 2011.
Nothing has been disturbed in the rooms since Bose’s death. The work desk and the bed of the scientist still remain intact.
Sitting in his illustrious father’s bedroom on the ground floor, Rathindranath pointed at two portraits on the wall — Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore. “These two were his favourites. He spent a lot of time looking at them.”
Bose did not push his two sons and five daughters to study physics. “He told us to study whatever we wished. None of us studied physics,” said Rathindranath.
So what does he think of the hullabaloo over the God particle?
Unassuming to the last, Rathindranath said, “My father was not connected in any way with the God particle. He prepared the grounds for the discovery.”