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Thanu Padmanabhan Biography, Wiki, Career, Death, Cause Of Death | Who Was Renowned Physicist Thanu Padmanabhan?

Who was Thanu Padmanabhan?

Thanu Padmanabhan (10 March 1957 – 17 September 2021) was an Indian theoretical physicist and cosmologist whose research spanned a wide variety of topics in Gravitation, Structure formation in the universe, and Quantum Gravity.

He published nearly 300 papers and reviews in international journals and ten books in these areas. He made several contributions to the analysis and modeling of dark energy in the universe and the interpretation of gravity as an emergent phenomenon. He was a Distinguished Professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, (IUCAA) at Pune, India.

Renowned astrophysicist Thanu Padmanabhan passes away

Eminent theoretical physicist and cosmologist Thanu Padmanabhan passed away, aged 64, here on Friday. According to sources, the Padma Shri awardee collapsed after suffering a massive heart attack at his Pune residence in the morning. He was rushed to the hospital but died on arrival.

Tributes and condolences poured in from colleagues, academics, and science enthusiasts across the country.

K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said in a tweet, “Shocked to hear of the passing of Professor Thanu Padmanabhan. His research linking general relativity and thermodynamics in new ways, and in other areas, has been widely recognized. Scholar, communicator, extraordinary scientist, friend to many. He will be much missed”.

Thanu Padmanabhan Biography, Wiki

Born in 1957, Padmanabhan did his schooling in Thiruvananthapuram and earned his B.Sc. (1977) and M.Sc. (1979) in Physics, securing Gold Medals in both for graduating at the top of his class, from the University College, Kerala University.

He published his first research paper (on general relativity) when he was still a B.Sc. student, at the age of 20. He joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai in 1979 for his Ph.D. and became a faculty member there in 1980. He held various faculty positions at TIFR during 1980-1992 and also spent a year (in 1986-87) at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. He moved to IUCAA in 1992 and served as its Dean, Core Academic Programmes, for 18 years (1997-2015).

Padmanabhan has also served as Adjunct Faculty of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai), the Harish-Chandra Research Institute (Allahabad), the Raman Research Institute (Bangalore), and the Indian Institute of Science, Education, and Research (IISER, Pune) at different periods in his career. He is currently adjunct faculty of IISER, Mohali.

He was the elected President of the Cosmology Commission (2009-2012) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and Chairman of the Astrophysics Commission (2011-2014) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

He has also been a Visiting Faculty at many institutes including the California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and a Sackler Distinguished Astronomer of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. He is also an elected fellow of TWAS and the three National Academies of Science in India.

Born10 March 1957
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Died17 September 2021 (aged 64)
Pune, India
NationalityIndian
Alma materKerala University,
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
AwardsPadma Shri
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Astronomy
InstitutionsInter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Doctoral advisorJayant Narlikar

Thanu Padmanabhan Wife

He was married to Vasanthi Padmanabhan, who has a PhD in astrophysics from TIFR, Mumbai and has one daughter, Hamsa Padmanabhan, who has a PhD in astrophysics from IUCAA, Pune.

Thanu Padmanabhan Awards

Padmanabhan has received several national and international awards including:

  • TWAS Prize in Physics (2011)
  • Infosys Science Foundation Prize for Physical Sciences (2009)
  • J.C.Bose National Fellowship (DST) (2008)
  • INSA Vainu Bappu Gold Medal (2007)
  • Padma Shri (from the President of India, 2007)
  • Miegunah Fellowship Award (University of Melbourne, Australia, 2004)
  • Homi Bhabha Fellowship (2003)
  • G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research (2003)
  • Al-Khwarizmi International Award (2002)
  • The Millennium Medal (CSIR, 2000)
  • Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1996)
  • The Birla Science Prize (1991)
  • Young Scientist Award, (Indian National Science Academy) (1984)

His research work has won prizes seven times (in 1984, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014) including the First Prize in 2008 from the Gravity Research Foundation, USA.

Thanu Padmanabhan Research Contributions

Padmanabhan’s work in the last decade, interpreting gravity as an emergent phenomenon, has far-reaching implications both for quantum gravity and for the nature of dark energy, and it has had a profound influence on the subject.

He provided a clear interpretation of gravity as an emergent phenomenon and showed that this paradigm extends to a wide class of theories of gravitation including, but not limited to, general relativity. Padmanabhan could also show that several peculiar aspects of classical gravitational theories find natural interpretations in this approach.

This approach also provides a novel solution to the cosmological constant problem. He has given two lectures at the Oxford-Cambridge collaborative conference on “Cosmology and the Constants of Nature” about this.

Popular descriptions of his work have been published in Scientific American (India), and a more technical description is available in an article from the Gravity Research Foundation in 2008, that describes his First Prize work.

Padmanabhan’s early work was in quantum cosmology, structure formation in the universe and statistical mechanics of gravitating systems. In the 1980s, he provided an interpretation of the Planck length as the `zero-point length’ of the spacetime based on very general considerations.

This result, established by theoretical considerations and well-chosen thought experiments, finds an echo in more recent results in several other candidate models for quantum gravity. He has made significant contributions to the study of statistical mechanics of gravitating systems and was a pioneer in the systematic application of these concepts to study the gravitational clustering in an expanding universe

In November 2016, Padmanabhan published research studies advocating a new paradigm shift in understanding gravity.

Thanu Padmanabhan Science Outreach

Apart from his scientific research, Padmanabhan has given many popular science lectures (several of which are available on YouTube) and authored more than a hundred popular science articles published in various national and international journals. He has also authored two popular science books:

Some of his other contributions are:

  • The Story of Physics, a comic strip serialised in the magazine Science Age, from Sept. 84 to Dec. 86; published in book form by Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi, (2002) and now translated into several Indian regional languages.
  • The IYA Astronomical Diary – 2009, 53 illustrated pages of astronomical information, celebrating the International Year of Astronomy (2009) (with J.V.Narlikar and Samir Dhurde).
  • Dawn of Science – a 24 instalment set of articles on the early history of all branches of science published in the journal ‘Resonance’ in 2010-2012 [based on a set of articles originally published in Science Today from Jan 1990 to April 1992].

Thanu Padmanabhan FAQ’s

Who was Thanu Padmanabhan?

Thanu Padmanabhan (10 March 1957 – 17 September 2021) was an Indian theoretical physicist and cosmologist whose research spanned a wide variety of topics in Gravitation, Structure formation in the universe, and Quantum Gravity.

When did Thanu Padmanabhan die?

How did Thanu Padmanabhan die?

According to sources, the Padma Shri awardee collapsed after suffering a massive heart attack at his Pune residence in the morning. He was rushed to the hospital but died on arrival.

 

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