Noted geophysicist and Visiting Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography [SIO] in California, USA, Devendra Lal, has passed away. He was 83.
An obituary notice on the website of SIO said he passed away at his residence in San Diego on Dec. 1.
Paying tributes to his contributions to earth and planetary nuclear physics during his 40-years of career at the Institution, the notice noted that he was both a caring and a demanding teacher.
Starting his research career at the age of 20 at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Mumbai, the primary thrust of his work was in the field of cosmic ray physics, earth and planetary sciences and astrophysics. He was particularly interested in studying records of climate found in terrestrial minerals, and chemical history of ocean waters based on marine biogenic minerals.
His contributions included the setting up a national radiocarbon laboratory at TIFR to facilitate chronological studies of Indian archaeological sites going back to the Harappan era. He had also set up a Tritium Laboratory at TIFR which was later shifted to the National Geophysical Research Institute at Hyderabad.
He won the CSIR’s prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award in 1967 and was conferred Padma Shri in 1971. He was the recipient of NASA Group Achievement Award 9Skylab III), and Hans Peterson Medal from Royal Swedish Academy. He was Director of the Physical Research Laboratory from 1972 to 1983.
“The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, community is mourning the loss of [its] long time faculty member’’, the obituary notice of the Institution said.