Bose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the eldest of seven children in a Bengali Kayastha. His schooling began at the age of five, near his home.
When his family moved to Goabagan, he was admitted into the New Indian School. In the final year of school, he was admitted into the Hindu School.
He passed his entrance examination (matriculation) in 1909 and stood fifth in the order of merit. He next joined the intermediate science course at the Presidency College, Calcutta, where his teachers included Jagadish Chandra Bose, Sarada Prasanna Das, and Prafulla Chandra Ray.
Bose went on European Tour in 1924 and visited Paris, Berlin etc. In Paris he worked at Madam Curie Laboratory and then visited Paris and met Albert Einstein.
Bose was well versed in several languages such as Bengali, English, French, German and Sanskrit as well as the poetry of Lord Tennyson, Rabindranath Tagore and Kalidasa. He could play the esraj, an Indian musical instrument similar to a violin. He was actively involved in running night schools that came to be known as the Working Men's Institute.
Bose's work stood at the transition between the 'old quantum theory' of Planck, Bohr and Einstein and the new quantum mechanics of Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Born, Dirac and others. His area of research was the theory of relativity. In 1924, he derived Planck's quantum radiation law in a paper without reference to classical physics.
He was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1954 by the Government of India. The class of particles that obey Bose statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac.