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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 50 New Delhi December 3, 2016

Remembering Professor M.G.K. Menon

Monday 5 December 2016

Professor M.G.K. Menon, 88, who passed away in the Capital on November 22, 2016, has been described by his grand-nephew Himadri Gupta, a senior lecturer of bio-materials, School of Engineering Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, as “both a brilliant high energy particle physicist and an institution-builder of Indian science“—one of those responsible for building a world-class scientific industrial complex right from the early years after independence.

And Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar, currently Director, Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi, referred to him as “one of India’s most eminent ‘statesmen of science’”, having functioned as a scientist, S&T policy-maker, scholar, parliamentarian, Cabinet Minister in the Union Government besides being a “humanist of rare elegance”.

Awarded Ph.D at the age of 25 by the University of Bristol, UK in 1953, he joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1955 at the invitation of Homi Bhabha and was appointed its Director in 1966 following Dr Bhabha’s untimely demise. After Dr Vikram Sarabhai’s death in 1971 he was given additional charge as Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation and Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. Besides being the Scientific Advisor to the PM, he was a Minister of State for S&T and Education and a Rajya Sabha Member (1990-96). He also functioned as President of the India International Centre for two terms.