Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Saha, Meghnad N

Reference work entry

BornSeoratali near Dacca, (Bangladesh), 6 October 1893

Diednear New Delhi, India, 16 February 1956

Indian theoretical physicist and astrophysicist Meghnad Saha is eponymized in the Saha equation, which permits calculation of the degree of ionization in a gas that is at a well-defined temperature and density. It is of enormous importance in analyzing the spectra of stars and nebulae and permitted  Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin to show that the stars consist primarily of hydrogen and helium.

Meghnad Saha was educated in local schools in Dacca – a private one after participation in a nationalist demonstration caused loss of his scholarship at a government school. He enrolled at Presidency College in 1911, with a small scholarship, awarded after Satyen Bose, a lifelong collaborator, and he applied in person. Saha received an M.Sc. in 1915, having always been an outstanding student, and was appointed as a lecturer, first in mathematics and then in physics, at the University of Calcutta in 1916....

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Selected References

  1. Anon. (1921). “Ionisation in Stellar Atmospheres.” Nature 108: 131.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. (1921). “Rubidium in the Sun.” Nature 108: 291.Google Scholar
  3. Basu, Jayanta (ed.) (1994). The Glittering Spectrum of Meghnad Saha. Calcutta: Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.Google Scholar
  4. Council of Scientific Industrial Research (1969). Collected Scientific Papers of Meghnad Saha. New Delhi: Council of Scientific Industrial Research.Google Scholar
  5. Karmohapatro, S. B. Meghnad Saha. New Delhi: Publications Division, Government of India.Google Scholar
  6. Kothari, D. S. (1959). “Meghnad Saha.” Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 5: 217–236.Google Scholar
  7. Raman, V. V. (1975). “Saha, Meghnad.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 12, pp. 70–71. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  8. Saha, Meghnad N. (1920). “Elements in the Sun.” Philosophical Magazine 40: 809–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. — (1920). “Ionization in the Solar Chromosphere.” Philosophical Magazine 40: 472–488.Google Scholar
  10. — (1921). “On a Physical Theory of Stellar Spectra.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A 99: 135–153.Google Scholar
  11. — (1921). “On the Problems of Temperature Radiation of Gases.” Philosophical Magazine 41: 267–278.Google Scholar
  12. Sen, S. N. (ed.) (1954). Professor Meghnad Saha: His Life, Work and Philosophy. Calcutta: Meghnad Saha Sixtieth Birthday Committee.Google Scholar
  13. Venkataraman, G. (1995). Saha and His Formula. Hyderabad: Universities Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada