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The Life & Legacy Of Meghnad Saha: A Bright Star in the World of Science

Posted On February 22nd, 2023 By Celebrity Biographies

Dr Meghnad Saha


Meghnad Saha was an eminent Indian astrophysicist, mathematician, and science administrator who is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant scientific minds in the history of India. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on the thermal ionization of elements, which led to the development of the Saha equation, a fundamental concept in astrophysics. Saha was also an active participant in the Indian independence movement and a strong advocate for the development of science and technology in India.

Early Life and Education

Meghnad Saha was born on October 6, 1893, in Shaoratoli village, Dhaka, now in Bangladesh. He received his early education in Dhaka and later moved to Kolkata to attend Presidency College. He graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Calcutta in 1913.

Personal Life of Meghnad Saha

Meghnad Saha was born in a Hindu family in the Shaoratoli village in Dhaka, British India. He was the eldest of his parents seven children. Saha married his wife, Devika Rani, in 1917, and they had two children together. Devika Rani went on to become a well-known film actress in India. Saha was known to be a disciplined and hardworking individual, who often worked long hours in the laboratory.

Career and Contributions

After completing his education, Saha worked as a lecturer at the University of Calcutta, where he made significant contributions to astrophysics and mathematics. In 1920, he proposed the “Saha ionization equation,” which explained how gas is ionized at different temperatures and pressures. This equation became a cornerstone of modern astrophysics and was later used by scientists to study the properties of stars.

In 1923, Saha became a professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta and later served as the Director of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore from 1938 to 1947. During this time, he made several important contributions to astrophysics and mathematics, including the development of the Saha-Langmuir equation, which describes the ionization of a gas in an electric field.

Political Career

Meghnad Saha was also actively involved in politics and the Indian independence movement. He was a member of the Indian National Congress and served as the President of the All India Science Congress in 1930. Saha believed that science and technology were essential for India’s economic and social progress, and he was a strong advocate for the development of science education in India. He was also a supporter of the Swadeshi movement, which aimed to promote Indian-made products and reduce dependence on imported goods.

In the 1940s, Saha was a vocal critic of the British government’s policies toward India, and he called for Indian independence. After India gained independence in 1947, Saha became the first Chairman of the newly established Atomic Energy Commission of India. He played an important role in the development of India’s nuclear energy program.

Awards and Nominations

Meghnad Saha was recognized with several awards and honors for his contributions to science. In 1927, he was awarded the Royal Society of London’s prestigious Hughes Medal for his work on the physical processes in stars. In 1930, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1943, he received the Knight Bachelor award from the British government. Saha was also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award in 1954, one of India’s highest civilian awards.

Meghnad Saha: Death & Legacy

Meghnad Saha passed away on February 16, 1956, at the age of 62. He suffered a heart attack while attending a meeting of the Indian Science Congress in Delhi. His sudden death was a shock to the scientific and political communities in India and around the world. Tributes poured in from all over, with many recognizing Saha’s contributions to science and his advocacy for Indian independence. Saha’s legacy lives on today, as his work in astrophysics and mathematics continues to influence scientists and mathematicians around the world. Several institutions, including the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata, are named in his honor, and his contributions to science and politics have left an indelible mark on Indian society.

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