Palash Baran Pal

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Palash Baran Pal
পলাশ বরন পাল
Palash Pal at Kolkata
Born (1955-09-04) 4 September 1955 (age 64)
Budge Budge, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India
Alma mater
Known for
Contributions to particle physics and Bengali literature
Awards2004  Rabindra Smriti Puroshkar 2011  Ramendra Sundar Smriti Puroshkar
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics (theoretical)
Doctoral advisorLincoln Wolfenstein

Palash Baran Pal (Bengali: পলাশ বরন পাল Palāś Baran Pāl, born : 1955) is an Indian theoretical physicist, an Emeritus Professor in the Physics Department of Calcutta University, Kolkata,[1] a writer,[2][3] a linguist[4] and a poet. His main area of research is Particle Physics. His works in the area of neutrino physics and relativistic treatment of particle properties in matter are well recognized in the particle physics community. Apart from his scientific contributions, he has authored well known text books in physics as well as several popular science literature in Bengali to popularize science.

Early life[edit]

Born to Amulya Bhushan Pal and Niva Pal on 4 September 1955, Palash Pal is the eldest of three siblings. He did his schooling from BE College Model School at Howrah. He received his bachelor's degree in Physics from Presidency College, Kolkata (affiliated to Calcutta University, Calcutta, India) in 1975 and master's degree in Physics from Calcutta University, Calcutta, India in 1977. He then moved to United States for further studies. He received his Doctorate Degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, United States in the year 1983. After that, he was associated with University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, University of Oregon and University of Texas respectively as post-doctoral fellow before he came back to India in 1994.


After he returned to India, Pal took up professorship at Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India in 1994 where he stayed till 1997 before he moved to Kolkata. He then joined the Theory Division of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata where he remained in service till September 2017. He is now an Emeritus Professor in the Physics Department of Calcutta University, Kolkata.

Palash Pal has worked in various branches of modern physics. Primarily a particle physicist, his works encompass studies in the standard model of particle physics. Some of his pioneering works are particularly focused on the topic of massive neutrinos, whose theoretical basis requires physics beyond the standard model. His original contributions to the field of neutrino physics include calculation of Feynman diagrams for Majorana fermions.,[5] determination of properties of fermions in matters and magnetic fields,[6] and a quantum field theoretic reworking of Lincoln Wolfenstein's formula predicting the properties of neutrino oscillation in presence of matter.[7] His review on the neutrino physics[8] gives a lucid description of the solar neutrino problem which appeals to a wider class of physicists.

Apart from his contributions to neutrino physics, Pal has done important work related to grand unification theory[9][10] and statistical field theory (popularly called thermal field theory).[11][12] Some of his works deal with the quantum field theoretic calculations of self-energies of photon and neutrino in a background of charged particles (as electrons, positrons or charged weak gauge bosons) in thermal equilibrium.[13][14] Pal has also ventured into calculations where the background for various elementary particle processes includes a thermal bath of charged particles in presence of constant magnetic field.[15]

Palash Pal is also well known for his teaching and has taught various topics of modern physics in the teaching program of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. Most of the material he has taught have been later turned into books which includes subjects like particle physics, statistical physics and quantum field theory. Except these books Palash B. Pal and Rabindra N. Mohapatra have written the book titled "Massive neutrinos in physics and astrophysics",[16][17] which is a standard text for both newcomers and old practitioners working in the field of neutrino physics or astroparticle physics.

Pal started contributing to Bengali literature through popular science articles from as early as 1988. Eight such books and many other articles published in several magazines show his enthusiasm to reach out to an individual who has any scientific curiosity. His other writings in Bengali, which include several articles on Bengali phonetics, orthography and grammar, Bengali translations of poetries written in other foreign languages, such as the ones by Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, and folktales for children carry the signature of his varied interests in literature and linguistics. He has received two awards in the field of literature, Rabindra Smriti Puroshkar in 2004 and Ramendra Sundar Smriti Puroshkar in 2011, for his popular-level books Bigyān: byakti jukti somoy somāj (বিজ্ঞান: ব্যক্তি যুক্তি সময় সমাজ) and Einstein-er uttorādhikār (আইনস্টাইনের উত্তরাধিকার), respectively.


Besides many scientific papers, Palash Pal has written Physics textbooks in English, and popular-level scientific books and pedagogical scientific articles in Bengali. He has translated several poetries written in foreign languages, such as Spanish, French and Japanese, into Bengali. Among these, the Spanish and the French poetries are direct translations made from the original texts, whereas the collection of translation of Japanese Haikus was made from the English translations of these poetries. Pal's translation of the Spanish poetries written by Pablo Neruda is one of the very first translations of an entire Spanish book into Bengali. Apart from that, Palash Pal has also translated several Bengali popular literature by other Bengali literary laureates into English. He has authored books on linguistics and folktales in Bengali. An exhaustive list of the books, authored by him so far, is as follows:

  • Academic Books
Title & description Co-author Publication details Link
Massive Neutrinos in Physics and Astrophysics : A book on neutrino physics for researchers and students in the field Rabindra N. Mahapatra World Scientific, Singapore, 1991. [Enlarged editions: 1998, 2004.]
A first book of Quantum Field Theory : A beginning level text book on Quantum Field Theory Amitabha Lahiri Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, 2000. [Second edition 2005.]
An introductory course of Statistical Mechanics : A text book on Statistical Mechanics for post-graduate as well as advanced undergraduate students Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi, 2007 [Reprint 2013]
An introductory course of Particle Physics : A text book on Particle Physics for post-graduate students as well as beginning researchers CRC Press, July 2014
A Physicists Introduction to Algebraic Structures : A text book on various topics of algebra which are useful for physicists. Detailed discussion of vector spaces, groups and topological spaces. Short introduction to many other algebraic structures like metric spaces, rings, fields, measure spaces, Boolean algebra. Cambridge University Press, March 2019
  • Popular-level Books
Title and description Co-author / Translator Publication details
Ki diyé samastô-kichu gorhā, কী দিয়ে সমস্তকিছু গড়া (What is everything made of): Popular book on particle physics in Bengali West Bengal State Book Board, Calcutta, 1988. [Second edition 1997.]
Sāl-tarikhér itihās, সাল তারিখের ইতিহাস (A history of dates and years): A book in Bengali on the development of calendars in various civilizations and its relation to the development of Astronomy Samatat Prakashan, Calcutta, 1994. [Second edition, Sarat Book Distributors, Calcutta, 2003; Third edition 2015]
Ālôr kathā, আলোর কথা (On light): A book for children in Bengali on light Shishu Sahitya Samsad, Calcutta, 1999. [Second edition 2005.]
Bigyān: byakti jukti somoy somāj, বিজ্ঞান: ব্যক্তি যুক্তি সময় সমাজ (Science: persons, arguments, time and society): A collection of popular scientific articles in Bengali Anustup, Calcutta, 2001. [Editions: 2010, 2017 (ISBN No : 978-81-85479-20-0)]
Māpjôker itihās, মাপজোকের ইতিহাস (A history of measurements): A book in Bengali on the evolution of various units of measurement Anustup, Calcutta, 2002. [2nd edition, Sarat Book Distributors, Calcutta, 2003]
Journey through time: a history of dates and years: English translation of his Bengali book Sāl-tarikhér itihās (সাল তারিখের ইতিহাস) Translated by : Sushan Konar Scholastic, New Delhi, January 2008. [Revised reprint April 2008]
Rong-berong, রঙ-বেরঙ (Colors): A book in Bengali on the science of colors and color perception, the technology of color production and reproduction Co-author : Shekhar Guha Jnan Bichitra, Agartala, 2010
Einstein-er uttorādhikār, আইনস্টাইনের উত্তরাধিকার (Einstein's legacy): Nine essays in Bengali, discussing various aspects of Einstein's work, his predecessors from whom he derived inspiration, and his impact on society and science Bangiya Bijnan Parishad, Calcutta, 2011
At the root of things : English translation of his Bengali book Ki diyé samastô-kichu gorhā (কী দিয়ে সমস্তকিছু গড়া) Translated by : Sushan Konar CRC Press, August 2014.
Bigyan ebong, বিজ্ঞান এবং : 12 essays on the relation of science with other aspects of human life and thoughts, e.g., Science and superstitions, Science and religion, Science and mathematics, Science and imagination Ababhash, Calcutta, 2016
  • Translations
Title Translated from Co-author Publication details
Jekhāne brishtir janmô, যেখানে বৃষ্টির জন্ম Pablo Neruda's "Donde nace la lluvia" (from the original Spanish) Arunā Prokāshoni, Calcutta, 1988; [2nd edition, Paramparā Prakāshan, 2011]
Sutrapāt, সূত্রপাত Isaac Asimov's "Beginnings" Shekhar Guha Anustup, Calcutta, 1997
Kathā, কথা Jacques Prévért's "Paroles" (from the original French) Anustup, Calcutta, 1997. [2nd printing 2010 (ISBN No : 978-81-85479-31-6)]
Bāshor Haiku, বাশো-র হাইকু Japanese Haikus by Matsuo Basho Ababhāsh, Calcutta, 2004
Selected Stories by Parashuram English translation of Bengali short stories by Parashuram [Rajshekhar Bose] Sukanta Chaudhuri Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2006
Funny and funnier English translation of Bengali short stories by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay Abhijit Gupta Scholastic, New Delhi, 2010
  • Books on linguistics
Title Description Publication details
Dhwônimālā bornômālā, ধ্বনিমালা বর্ণমালা A book on Bengali phonetics Papyrus, Calcutta, 2001 [2nd edition: Anustup, Calcutta, 2015]
Ā môri Bānglā bhāshā, আ মরি বাংলা ভাষা Collection of a number of essays on various aspects of language, orthography and grammar Anushtup, Calcutta, 2011 (ISBN No: 978-81-85479-63-7)
Hok kothā, হক কথা Collection of a number of short articles, written originally for newspaper supplements and literary magazines, on various aspects of language, orthography and grammar Parampara Prakashan, Calcutta, 2013
Ek theke choy, এক থেকে ছয় Six essays on problems of transliteration, terminologies, typefaces and orthography Parampara Prakashan, Calcutta, 2016
  • Folktales
Title Description Publication details
Nānā desh nānā golpô, নানা দেশ নানা গল্প Collection of folktales from all over the world Shishu Sahitya Samsad, Calcutta, 2010; [Second printing 2012]


Palash Pal has developed two latex based packages :

  1. bangtex : for typesetting documents in Bangla using the Tex/Latex systems [1][18]
  2. pptalk : a Latex-based package for talk presentation [2]

Personal life[edit]

Palash Pal is married to Shukla Sanyal (শুক্লা সান্যাল), who was a professor of history at Calcutta University and Presidency University Kolkata, respectively, and has one daughter, Shoili Pal (ৈশলী পাল), and one son, Proyag Pal (প্রয়াগ পাল).


  1. ^ "Building Blocks of Science". The Times of India. 23 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Life's like that only". The Hindu. 4 March 2007.
  3. ^ "Political love". The Times of India. 4 July 2010.
  4. ^ "বিচিত্র শব্দকথা". Desh.
  5. ^ Pal, Palash B.; Wolfenstein, Lincoln (1982). "Radiative decays of massive neutrinos". Phys. Rev. D25 (3): 766. Bibcode:1982PhRvD..25..766P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.25.766.
  6. ^ D'Olivo, Juan Carlos; Nieves, Jose F.; Pal, Palash B. (1989). "Electromagnetic properties of neutrinos in a background of electrons". Phys. Rev. D40 (11): 3679. Bibcode:1989PhRvD..40.3679D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.40.3679.
  7. ^ Pal, Palash B.; Pham, T. N. (1989). "Field-theoretic derivation of Wolfenstein's matter-oscillation formula". Phys. Rev. D40 (1): 259. Bibcode:1989PhRvD..40..259P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.40.259.
  8. ^ Pal, Palash B. (1992). "Particle physics confronts the solar neutrino problem" (PDF). Int. J. Mod. Phys. A. 7 (22): 5387–5460. Bibcode:1992IJMPA...7.5387P. doi:10.1142/S0217751X92002465.
  9. ^ Hübsch, Tristan; Pal, Palash B. (1986). "Economical unification of three families in SO(18)". Phys. Rev. D34 (5): 1606. Bibcode:1986PhRvD..34.1606H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.34.1606.
  10. ^ Pal, Palash B. (1991). "Monopoles of SU(15) grand unification" (PDF). Phys. Rev. D44 (5): R1366. Bibcode:1991PhRvD..44.1366P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.44.R1366.
  11. ^ Nieves, José F.; Pal, Palash B. (1997). "Radiative neutrino decay in hot media". Phys. Rev. D56 (1): 365. arXiv:hep-ph/9702283. Bibcode:1997PhRvD..56..365N. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.56.365.
  12. ^ Nieves, José F.; Pal, Palash B. (1989). "Electromagnetic properties of neutrinos in a medium". Phys. Rev. D40 (5): 1693. Bibcode:1989PhRvD..40.1693N. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.40.1693.
  13. ^ Nieves, José F.; Pal, Palash B. (1995). "Thermal self-energies at zero momentum". Phys. Rev. D51 (9): 5300. arXiv:hep-ph/9411440. Bibcode:1995PhRvD..51.5300N. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.51.5300.
  14. ^ Nieves, José F.; Pal, Palash B.; Unger, David G. (1983). "Photon mass in a background of thermal particles". Phys. Rev. D28 (4): 908. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..28..908N. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.28.908.
  15. ^ Ganguly, Avijit K.; Konar, Sushan; Pal, Palash B. (1999). "Faraday effect: A field theoretical point of view". Phys. Rev. D60 (10): 105014. arXiv:hep-ph/9905206. Bibcode:1999PhRvD..60j5014G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.60.105014.
  16. ^ Mohapatra, R. N.; Pal, Palash B. (1998). "Massive neutrinos in physics and astrophysics. Second edition". World Sci. Lec. Notes Phys. 60: 1–397.
  17. ^ Mohapatra, R. N.; Pal, Palash B. (2004). "Massive neutrinos in physics and astrophysics. Third edition". World Sci. Lec. Notes Phys. 72: 1–451.
  18. ^ "Comprehensive TEX Archive Network". CTAN.

External links[edit]