Meghnad Saha was an outstanding Indian scientist. He made a remarkable contribution in the field of Astrophysics. Meghnad Saha was born on October 6, 1893 in Sheoratali, a village in Dacca district, now in Bangladesh. He was the fifth child of his parents, Sri Jagannath Saha and Smt. Bhubaneshwari Devi. His father was a grocer in the village. He had his early education in the primary school of the village.
As his family could hardly able to make both ends meet, Megbnad Saha managed to pursue his schooling only due to the generosity of a local medical practitioner, Ananta Kumar Das, who provided him with boarding and lodging in his house.
In 1905 the British government took the decision of partition of Bengal. There was great political unrest in Bengal as popular opinion was against the partition. Sir Bampfylde Fuller was governor of East Bengal at that time.
One day he came to visit the collegiate school, Meghnad Saha, along with other students boycotted his visit. As a result he was suspended from the school and his scholarship was terminated. He took admission in the Kishorilal Jubilee School and passed the entrance examination of the Calcutta University in 1909, standing first among the students from East Bengal obtaining the highest marks in languages (English, Bengali, Sanskrit) and in Mathematics.
In 1911, he ranked third in the ISC exam while the first position went to another great scientist Satyendra Nath Bose.
In 1917, Meghnad Saha joined as a 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, the American Astrophysical Journal published “On Selective Radiation Pressure and its Application” -a research paper by Meghnad Saha. He put forward an “ionisation 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, Meghand 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 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 in 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 large margin, he also got involved with Anushilan Samiti to take part in freedom fighting movement. He also came in contact with nationalists like Subhash Chandra Bose and Rajendra Prasad.
On February 16, 1956 this great, Indian scientist died due to a heart attack leaving behind his unforgettable and great contribution in the field of science.