Published: 20th June 2017
Plasma physicist P.K. Kaw passes away
The world-renowned plasma physicist was the founding director of the Institute for Plasma Research
Internationally recognised plasma physicist and pioneer of thermo-nuclear fusion in India, Professor Predhiman Krishan Kaw died at his residence in Ahmedabad. He passed away the previous day after suffering a cardiac arrest at the age of 69. Professor Kaw was the founding director of the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar, and has served in the position of Director. He has received various recognitions for his work in Laser and Plasma Physics.
Born on January 1948, Kaw did his PhD in 1966 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He was just 18 when he achieved this academic milestone. After completing his PhD, Kaw went to Princeton University, USA as a post-doctoral fellow and later joined the University as an assistant professor. From 1971-75, Kaw was back in India as Associate Professor and then as Professor at the Physical Research
In this period he extended the theory of parametric instabilities to magnetised plasmas. He also made important contributions to the theory of ionospheric irregularities in the equatorial electro jet. In the early 80s , Kaw and some of his former colleagues at PRL succeeded in persuading the DST to set up a major programme of plasma physics at PRL. He returned to India in 1982 to direct this programme. The programme was separated from PRL in 1986 and became the DST-funded Institute for Plasma Research.
The veteran scientist was honoured with a Padma Shri in 1985 for his contribution in the field of producing energy through thermonuclear fusion. "It is a huge and irreparable loss to the whole nation at large and IPR in particular. His contribution to plasma and fusion sciences, and his tireless efforts in nurturing the IPR since its inception will be remembered for long," said D. Chenna Reddy, Dean of Research and Development at IPR,