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Meghnad Saha

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Meghnad Saha was born on the 6th October, 1893, in an obscure village in Dhaka. He was the fifth son of Jagannath Saha and Bhubaneswari Devi. His father was a grocer in the village. Meghnad Saha came of a poor family, yet the extreme poverty could not suppress his indomitable scientific spirit. Having completed his early education in the Village Pathshala (school), he joined Simulia Middle School and then he came to Jubilee School in Dacca. In 1909, he passed the Entrance Examination securing first position. He stood third in ISC Examination in 1911.

Meghnad Saha passed B.Sc. with Honors in Chemistry from Presidency College in 1913. In 1915 he stood first in M. Sc. Examination.


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In 1917, Meghnad Saha joined as lecturer at the newly opened University College of Science in Calcutta. He taught Quantum Physics. Along with S.N. Bose, he translated the papers published in German by Einstein and Minkowski on relativity into English versions. In 1919, American Astrophysical Journal published - "On Selective Radiation Pressure and its application" - a research paper by Meghnad Saha. He put forward an "ionization formula" which explained the presence of the spectral lines. The formula proved to be a breakthrough in astrophysics. He went abroad and stayed for two years. He spent time in research at Imperial College, London and at a research laboratory in Germany. In 1927, Meghnad Saha was elected as a fellow of London's Royal Society.

Meghnad Saha moved to Allahabad and in 1932 Uttar Pradesh 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. Having seen cyclotrons used for research in nuclear physics abroad, he ordered one to be installed in the institute. In 1950, India had its first cyclotron in operation.

In 1952 he stood as an independent candidate for Parliament and was elected by a wide margin.


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He died on February 16, 1956 due to a heart attack.


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