Noted physicist Thanu Padmanabhan passes away in Pune

Renowned physicist and professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Thanu Padmanabhan passed away after suffering a heart attack at his official residence in Pune on Friday
Renowned physicist and professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Thanu Padmanabhan passed away after suffering a heart attack at his official residence in Pune on Friday. (HT)
Renowned physicist and professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Thanu Padmanabhan passed away after suffering a heart attack at his official residence in Pune on Friday. (HT)
Updated on Sep 17, 2021 11:51 PM IST
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By Dheeraj Bengrut

Pune: Renowned physicist and professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Thanu Padmanabhan passed away after suffering a heart attack at his official residence in Pune on Friday. The theoretical physicist was rushed to a hospital, where he died during treatment, according to his former colleague. The 64-year-old scientist is survived by his wife Dr Vasanthi Padmanabhan and daughter Hamsa.

A Padma Shri recipient in 2007, Padmanabhan has authored over 300 research papers and several books on gravitation, quantum gravity, and structure and formation of the universe. He was ranked 24th amongst top scientists in the world by the Stanford University for his research in Theoretical Physics.

Born in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) on March 10, 1957, Padmanabhan completed his graduation and post-graduation from the University College of Kerala with gold medals. He joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai in 1979, and later pursued a postdoctoral degree from the Institute of Astronomy under the University of Cambridge, UK. In 1992, he moved to Pune to join as dean of IUCAA and has been working here since then.

Professor Ajit Kembhavi, former IUCAA director, who worked along with Prof Padmanabhan for the past more than 30 years, said, “He was an outstanding physicist, astronomer and scholar. He has written a series of highly acclaimed and technical books on different aspects of Theoretical Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics. It is a great loss to the astronomical community.”

“He was not only my colleague in IUCAA, but we first worked together in TIFR in Mumbai prior to 1989. Then I moved to IUCAA Pune and he also later joined the institute. Though we were both working in the same institute for so many years, we did not do any research together but our bond as colleagues was strong,” said Kembhavi.

Kembhavi said that Prof Padmanabhan was a quiet person engaged in his work along with his team of students, post-doctorates and co-workers.

“He was busy with his research in his field and used to regularly publish his works,” Kembhavi said.

Staff, colleagues and students paid homage to Prof Padmanabhan at the IUCAA campus and he was taken to the crematorium in Aundh for last rites at around 2 pm.

“This is one of the saddest days in the history of IUCAA, Pune and the Indian scientific community today. Professor Thanu Padmanabhan Padma Shri passed away this morning as a result of a cardiac arrest. Padmanabhan known as Paddy to us all, leaves behind his wife and daughter, innumerable friends, admirers, colleagues, teachers and his monumental legacy of research and textbooks.” said IUCAA director Prof Somak Raychaudhury.

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Thursday, October 21, 2021