`World`s foremost theoretical electrochemist`
Professor Sarukkai Krishnamachary Rangarajan
`modern day Isaac Newton`
Professor Pierre-Gilles De Gennes
`Prof. Rangarajan, undisputedly the world`s foremost theoretical electrochemist.`
R. De Levie (1993)
Descriptions like brilliant, inspiring, humane, dedicated, though apt, are not adequate to portray Professor S. K. Rangarajan- either as a person or as a Scientist. Clarity in thought, ability to discern the essential from the details, urge to comprehend, correlate, unify and generalize are transparent in all his activities. In the area of electrochemical sciences, the main thrust of his approach is to bring electrochemistry back into mainstream of physical chemistry and chemical physics where it really belongs.
“I have rarely come across an intellectual and human being who is so open and deep. It is an irreparable loss to the community.”
-Debashis Mukherjee (2008)
“A truly great teacher, SKR was a selfless and self-effacing man. He gave away his knowledge to anyone who came to him without ever expecting any return. The very thought of returns never occurred to him. He was not a man of mere intellect. Indeed, it was jut one small part of him. At a time when lesser mortals get easily tempted to fall prey to the ways of the world, he remained steadfast in his values and principles, never once deviating from his chosen, or should I say preordained path”. - S. Arunachalam
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (1991) "for discovering that methods developed for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter, in particular to liquid crystals and polymers."
P. G. de Gennes was
Honours and Awards:
Homi Bhabha Fellow (1970-72).
S. R. Palit Award in Physical Chemistry.
CRSI Life Time Achievement Award (2008)
Associate Editor of Electrochimica Acta (Pergamon Press).
…but the man was much more than what these signify.
Two “rare distinctions”:
Never bothered to obtain a Ph.D. though produced seven Doctorates … and most of them decorated with best thesis awards at IISc. For a major part of his career, he neither had a big team at his command nor funded projects at his disposal.
Some interesting anecdotes and quotes:
The Legend goes that Doss was looking for someone who knew Laplace
Transforms and could solve non-stedy-state problem for the redoxo-kinetic
effect. A popular article on Laplace transforms contributed by SKR to his
Professor Martin Fleishman on SKR’s 1965 visit to the University of
“Look, Rangarajan, this University is a great place and we have had many visiting us. They all got something from here. You are the only person to whom we didn’t give anything but took everything.”
SKR learns his first lesson in ‘Administration’ from Doss…
On one of his scientific sessions with Doss, SKR had taken with him a file ‘for Director’s approval’; Doss said, ‘You may send the file later, let us discuss science now’.
Doss in one of his meetings, seems to have remarked that “discovering SKR” was his most important contribution to electrochemistry.
An Obituary on SKR