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Bose statistics---before and after

Mukunda, N (1994) Bose statistics---before and after. In: Current Science, 66 (12). 954-964.

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This paper gives a historical perspective to the gestation and birth of Bose-Einstein (BE).As is known today, particles whose spin is an even multiple of $\hslash/2$ obey BE statistics, those whose spin is an odd multiple of $\hslash/2$ obey FD statistics. (These particles may be elementary or composite.) Both statistics are derived from the fact that particles in the quantum realm are indistinguishable, the difference being that in the FD case at most one particle can occupy any given quantum state (Pauli principle) while in the BE case any number of particles can be in a particular state. Little of this was known when the statistics were first developed by Bose. The paper gives the background of attempts to explain the black-body spectrum, which led eventually to Bose's combinatorical derivation of the Planck law using the concept of indistinguishability. (Bose was professor of physics at Dacca, in what is now Bangladesh, then India.) Einstein was the first to appreciate Bose's work, translating the paper into German for publication in Zeitschrift für Physik, and applying the methods to a quantum gas (hence, "Bose-Einstein condensation", which explains the bizarre behavior of liquid ${\rm He}^4$).

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Current Science Association
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Theoretical Studies (Ceased to exist at the end of 2003)
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2004
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2008 10:57
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/949

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