Rolf-Dieter Heuer, German scientist and director-general of European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), said on Monday that it is unfortunate that Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose did not receive the Nobel prize for his significant contribution to the discovery of "Higgs boson" or the "God particle".
"India is like a historic father of the project. I am really very impressed seeing the immense talent pool that the country has," Heuer said during a lecture at the University of Calcutta on Monday.
"It is really ironical that he (Bose) was not given the award. His contribution to science is immense and the absence of a Nobel doesn't in any way undermine his genius or his contribution. However, we have done our bit by naming the particle after him," news agency IANS quoted Heuer as saying.
The German scientist is in Kolkata, for a two-day international science conference organized by the Centre for Natural Sciences and Philosophy and the Critical Issues Forum.
The mysterious "Higgs boson" particle was discovered on July 4 by scientists at the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research. The term "boson" is derived from Satyendra Nath's surname, while "Higgs" is named after Scottish physicist Peter Higgs.
Disappointment was expressed by the Indian scientific community over "boson" being spelt in lower case in comparison to "Higgs" which is spelt in upper case
Explaining the issue over "boson" being spelt in lower case, Heuer said that the bosons were a family of particles. .
"The new particle is a member of the boson family. So the name Higgs signifies it as a definitive particle and boson signifies that it belongs to the boson family. We do not have any intention to belittle Bose's contributions," said Heuer.
While talking about the discovery of Higgs boson, Heuer said, "We have reached the first step of the ladder and there are more steps to follow. We have set a certain limit which the data significance has to exceed in order to call it a discovery and the signs are very encouraging. It takes a lot of time to say what we have discovered."
During the conference he also spoke about India's likelihood of joining CERN. "The Atomic Energy Commission, I hear, has agreed to the proposal and (former) president Pratibha Patil too visited CERN in October 2011. Now we hope India will soon apply for membership," he said.
However, to become a member of CERN, India will have to make an annual contribution of 10 million Swiss francs as fee.
"The biggest number of applications for internship CERN receives is from Indian students. Sadly, we can't accommodate most because India doesn't have the special quota of seats allotted to member nations. Also, the membership will benefit industry and the scientific community here," Hindustan Times quoted Heuer as saying.