Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bose's second paper?

While reading a popular Outlook article about S.N.Bose http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281539, I came across this passage
"There is also, it must be said, a group of scientists who believe that Einstein let Bose down: if he had helped Bose get his brilliant second paper published, they allege, he’d have almost certainly won the Nobel."
From http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/scientists/snbose/bosenew.htm
"After reaching Paris he wrote to Einstein requesting his permission to work with him and also for his opinion on his second paper. Bose wrote:

“My heartfelt gratitude for taking trouble of translating the paper yourself and publishing it. I just saw it in print before I left India. I have also sent the middle of June a second paper entitled, “Thermal equilibrium in Radiation Field in the presence of Matter.”
I am rather anxious to know your opinion about it, as I think it to be rather important. I don’t know whether it will be possible also to have this paper published in Zeitschrift für Physic.
I have been granted leave by my university for 2 years. I have arrived just a week ago in Paris. I don’t know whether it will be possible for me to work under you in Germany. I shall be glad, however, if you will grant me permission to work under you, for it will mean for me the realization of a long-cherished dream…”
While Einstein did not acknowledge the receipt of Bose’s second paper but this time Einstein replied. In his letter to Bose dated November 03, 1924, Einstein wrote: “Thank you sincerely for your letter of 26 October. I am glad that I shall have the opportunity soon of making your personal acquaintance. Your papers have already appeared sometime ago. Unfortunately the reprints have been sent to me instead of you. You may have them at any time. I am not in agreement with your basic principle concerning the probability of interaction between radiation and matter, and have given the reasons in a remark which has appeared together with your paper…We may discuss this together in detail when you come here.” Bose was naturally disappointed by Einstein’s comments on his second paper. However, he started thinking deeply about the objections raised by Einstein. He informed Einstein that he was attempting to answer Einstein’s criticism in the form of a paper. In fact Bose had shown the manuscript to Paul Langevin(1872-1946) in Paris, who thought it worth publishing. However, the paper was never published."

Siimilar accounts appears in http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0508/0508237.pdf with mention of much stronger criticism of the paper by Einstein, in  Stachel's article "Bose and Einstein" and Wali's book on Bose, but these are too technical for me. In any case, no injustice seems to have been done to Bose. Bose himself seems to have said "“I was like a comet, a comet which came once and never returned again.”

(quoted in NY Times article http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/the-man-behind-boson/)

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