Purnima Sinha

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Purnima Sinha
Born12 October 1927
Kolkata, India
Died11 July 2015
Bengaluru, India
ResidenceShantiniketan, India
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta
Known forbeing the first Bengali woman to receive a doctorate in physics
Spouse(s)Surajit Chandra Sinha
ChildrenSukanya Sinha, Supurna Sinha
Scientific career
FieldsX-ray crystallography of clay minerals
InstitutionsIndian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Doctoral advisorSatyendra Nath Bose

Purnima Sinha (12 October 1927 – 11 July 2015) was an Indian physicist and had the distinction of being the first Bengali woman to receive a doctorate in physics.[1]

Early life[edit]

Purnima was born on 12 October 1927 as the youngest daughter of Dr. Nares Chandra Sen-Gupta who was a constitutional lawyer and a progressive writer who had written over sixty-five books and several essays in Bengali as well as in English, some of them on women’s education. She married the eminent anthropologist professor Surajit Chandra Sinha, former vice-chancellor, Visva-Bharati University who made significant contributions to understanding the process of acculturation of tribal peoples in India.[1][2]. Her Daughters Supurna Sinha and Sukanya Sinha are both physicists at Raman Research Institute and Indian Statistical Institute respectively.[1][2]

Education and career[edit]

Purnima's early education started in Lake School, Kolkata, which was established by her elder sister Sushama Sengupta. She attended Asutosh College, followed by the Scottish Church College, and finally the University of Calcutta. Her own artistic interests are varied and include learning Hindustani classical music from Yamini Ganguly, and painting from the well-known painter Gopal Ghosh. She has also taken tabla lessons from Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh. Her other talents include sculpting and painting.[1] Purnima's career in science spans many decades. Fifty years ago, she earned her doctorate in x-ray crystallography of clay minerals. She received her doctorate from the University of Calcutta as a student of the Rajabazar Science College in 1956-7, under the guidance of professor Satyendra Nath Bose. She has the distinction of being the first Bengali woman to receive a doctorate in physics.[1]

Books, articles, and publications[edit]

She had written extensively on many subjects in both English and Bengali. She had also been a regular contributor to Jnan O Bijnan (Knowledge and Science), a scientific journal in the Bengali vernacular published by Bangiya Bijnan Parishad (Bengal Science Association), founded by Satyendra Nath Bose. Recently Bangiya Bigyan Parishad awarded and felicitated her for popularizing science in Bengali, a passion she shared with her teacher.[1]

She has written extensively on Satyendra Nath Bose and the works on him are:

  • Bijnan Sadhanar Dharay Satyendranath Bose a book published by Visva Vidya Sangraha.
  • Amar Katha a book published by Bangiya Bijnan Parishad.
  • Satyen Bose-er Byaktitto O mononer dhara article published in Desh[1]

Other interests[edit]

She enjoyed singing, painting, writing, and reading books. She had a large, rare collection of books and journals at home. At the age of 80, she continued to enjoy meeting people, conversing and reminiscing.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biographical article". Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Women In Science - IAS" (PDF). Retrieved 6 April 2014.