Endowment to honour Thanu Padmanabhan

Speaker M.B. Rajesh unveiling a photograph of Prof. Thanu Padmanabhan at the Department of Physics, University College, on Wednesday.  

The alumni association of University College, Thiruvananthapuram, has decided to establish an endowment and scholarship to honour Thanu Padmanabhan, theoretical physicist and an old student of the college who passed away on September 17.

Every year, toppers of the BSc and MSc Physics programmes of the college will be awarded under this initiative, said S. P. Deepak, president of the alumni association, her on Wednesday.

Assembly Speaker M. B. Rajesh unveiled a photograph of Prof. Padmanabhan at the Department of Physics at a commemoration organised jointly by the department and the alumni association.

What set Prof. Padmanabhan apart from other scientists was his unstinting commitment to the people, the country and the pursuit of scientific research, Mr. Rajesh said. “To him, unravelling the mysteries of the universe was greater than any accolade. His demise leaves behind a vacuum, especially in these times when pseudoscience is being passed off as scientific fact,” Mr. Rajesh said.

A Distinguished Professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) at the time of his death in Pune, Prof. Padmanabhan had been a gold-medal topper of the BSc (1977) and MSc (1979) programmes in physics at the college.

Wednesday's commemoration was held in one of the classrooms of the Department of Physics where Prof. Padmanabhan studied in the 1970s.

The role played by Prof. Padmanabhan in the popularisation of science and the promotion of the scientific temper was unmatched, Mr. Rajesh said.

The Speaker recalled an observation made by Prof. Padmanabhan that he was constantly aware that his salary came from the taxpayer's money.

“'He also believed that if science is to benefit the people, the people must have access to it,” he said. The fact that Prof. Padmanabhan rose to scientific greatness from his modest background in Thiruvananthapuram will remain an inspiration for all, the Speaker said.

Mr. Rajesh also drew attention to his choice to remain in India and pursue his research, unlike many of his contemporaries who had left the country for universities abroad.

University College principal Gangadhar K.; Madhu G., Head of Department (Physics); S. P. Deepak and G. Venugopal, president and secretary of the college's alumni association respectively; and K. Krishnakumar and David George, classmates of Prof. Padmanabhan and former teachers of the department also spoke.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 6:59:24 AM |

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