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Prof. S. Chandrashekhar dead

By Our Staff Reporter


BANGALORE, MARCH 8. Sivaramakrishna Chandrashekhar, Founder-Director of the Centre for Liquid Crystal Research, Bangalore, died today, following a cerebral haemorrhage, an official release from the centre said. He was 73.

A physicist by training, Prof. Chandrashekhar spent the last 30 years studying liquid crystals and their uses. He was credited with predicting and later discovering the existence of "discotic liquid crystals" (comprising disc-like molecules as against the rod-like molecules of other liquid crystals known at the time).

Sodruzhestvo, the Liquid Crystalline Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences, awarded him the V.K. Friedericksz medal for the year 2000. Friederickz (1885-1944) was considered the father of liquid crystals research in Russia. The award, instituted in his memory, is given to two scientists each year. The other scientist who bagged the award for 2000 was A. Sonin.

In 1971, Prof. Chandrashekhar quit as Head of the Department of Physics of Mysore University, a department he had started 10 years earlier. He joined the Raman Research Institute, where he became Professor and Head of the Liquid Crystal Laboratory.

In an article he wrote, titled "The legacy of Sir Lawrence Bragg," is an anecdote about his decision to shift from researching crystals to liquid crystals: "When I was setting up the new department in Mysore, I mentioned this to Bragg (the intention to shift from crystals to liquid crystals), hoping that he would not be too disappointed that I was wandering off into an unfashionable and long forgotten field. His response was, in fact, just the opposite, for which I was truly grateful. He started a serious discussion on the subject and I felt jubilant."

Prof. Chandrashekhar, was the founder-president of the International Liquid Crystal Society and recipient of many awards including the Royal Medal of the Royal Society, U.K., the Neils Bohr Medal and the French Chevalier dans l'ordre des palmes academique. He was also conferred with the Padma Bhushan and the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

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