Meghnad Saha

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Saha, Meghnad

(māgnäd` sä`hä), 1893–1956, Indian physicist. He was a professor at Allahabad Univ. from 1923 to 1938 and a professor and physics department head at Calcutta Univ. from 1938. His theory of high-temperature ionization of elements and its application to stellar atmospheres, expressed in the Saha equation, is fundamental to modern astrophysics; subsequent development of his ideas has led to increased knowledge of the pressure and temperature distributions of stellar atmospheres.

Saha, Meghnad


Born Oct. 6, 1893, in Scoratali, Dacca (now in Bangladesh); died Feb. 16, 1956, in New Delhi. Indian physicist and astrophysicist.

Saha graduated from the University of Calcutta in 1915. He was a docent there from 1916 to 1921 and a professor from 1921 to 1923 and from 1938 to 1955. Between 1923 and 1938 he was a professor at the University of Allahabad. Saha’s most important work dealt with the high-temperature ionization of gases. What is known as the Saha equation was first stated by him, and the physics of stellar atmospheres is based on his ionization theory. Saha was the author of papers on thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, astrophysics, the theory of propagation of radio waves, and nuclear physics. He played an important role in the founding of the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Calcutta in 1951 and served as its honorary director.

Saha was elected to the House of the People of the Indian parliamentin 1951. In 1927 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London.


Professor Meghnad Saha: His Life, Work, and Philosophy. Calcutta, 1954.
Kothari, D. S. “Meghnad Saha (1893–1956).” Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1959, vol. 5, 217–36. (Contains bibliography.)
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