Meghnad Saha

Meghnad Saha was an Indian astrophysicist best known for his development of the Saha ionization equation, used to describe chemical and physical conditions in stars.

Updated: August 8, 2019

Meghnad Saha was an Indian astrophysicist best known for his development of the Saha ionization equation, used to describe chemical and physical conditions in stars. Saha was the first scientist to relate a star's spectrum to its temperature, developing thermal ionization equations that have been foundational in the fields of astrophysics and astrochemistry. He was born on 6th October 1893 and died on 16th February 1956.

Childhood of Meghnad Saha:

Meghnad Saha was born in 1893 in Shaoratoli, a village near Dhaka, in the former Bengal Presidency of British India (in present-day Bangladesh) as son of Jagannath Saha. Meghnad belonged to a poor family and struggled to rise in life.

Education of Meghnad Saha:

During his early schooling he was forced to leave Dhaka Collegiate School because he participated in the Swadeshi movement. His Indian School Certificate was earned from Dhaka College. He was also a student at the Presidency College, Kolkata.

Some facts about Meghnad Saha:

  • Meghnad was a professor at Allahabad University from 1923 to 1938, and thereafter a professor and Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Calcutta until his death in 1956. He became Fellow of the Royal Society in 1927.
  • He was president of the 21st session of the Indian Science Congress in 1934.
  • Meghnad Saha's best-known work concerned the thermal ionisation of elements, and it led him to formulate what is known as the Saha equation.
  • Saha also invented an instrument to measure the weight and pressure of solar rays.
  • He helped to build several scientific institutions, such as the Physics Department in Allahabad University and the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Calcutta.
  • He founded the journal Science and Culture and was the editor until his death.
  • He was the leading spirit in organizing several scientific societies, such as the National Academy of Science (1930), the Indian Physical Society (1934), Indian Institute of Science (1935).
  • He was the Director at Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science during 1953-1956.
  • A lasting memorial to him is the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, founded in 1943 in Kolkata.
  • Saha was also one of the prominent among the works on Halley's Comet.
  • Saha was also politically active and was elected in to the Parliament of India in 1952. Saha actively participated in the parliament in the areas of Education, Refugee and Rehabilitation, Atomic Energy, Multipurpose River Projects and Flood Control and long term planning.
  • Saha was the chief architect of river planning in India and prepared the original plan for the Damodar Valley Project.
  • Saha died on 16th February 1956 of a cardiac arrest in New Delhi. He was on his way to the office of the Planning Commission in Rashtrapati Bhavan, when he collapsed a few yards away from there. He died on the way, when being taking to a hospital.


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