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Professor Himanshu Hatwal

(December 18, 1950 - September 24, 2014)

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur


Professor Himanshu Hatwal did his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1971 from Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur, which was affiliated to University of Calcutta. Then he worked for two years at Hindustan Motors, a premier automobile industry during that era. He joined the graduate programme of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Kanpur in 1973. He completed both masters and Ph.D degree here. His Ph.D thesis was very highly rated. A two-part paper, based on his Ph.D work, published in Journal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME in 1983 is considered a classic in the area of Nonlinear Mechanical Vibrations. This paper producing one of the earliest experimental evidence of "Chaotic Mechanical oscillations" is regularly cited even after 25 years of its publication.

After finishing his Ph.D, he proceeded to University of Calgary, Canada for his post-doctoral research work. Upon returning he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering of IIT Kanpur as an Assistant Professor in 1985. Immediately he was made the coordinator of Vibration/Dynamics laboratory where he contributed enormously. Later he became professor and also The Head of The Centre of Mechatronics. He guided all the Ph.D students, who enrolled in the stream of Robotics during this early phase of fast growth of the Centre. He also served as the GATE Chairman when IIT Kanpur was the Organizing Institute. He was rated as an excellent classroom teacher by both UG and PG students.

Unfortunately, he was struck by the dreaded disease in 2001 when he was at the peak of his career. After undergoing brain surgery, followed by chemo and radiation therapies, he was forced to slow down his academic activities. A man of few words, charming disposition, and sharp intellect, Professor Hatwal won the hearts of one and all, starting from students to colleagues. Whosoever came in his contact appreciated his valiant fight with the dreaded disease and the dignity with which he lived and worked until the last two months of his life.

  • Avinash K Agarwalwrote on 26th September 2014
    We are deeply sad about this irreparable loss to the ME department and to the institute. Prof. Hatwal was a true gentleman, a humble colleague and a great human being. He was a brave fighter, who fought his illness in an illustrious manner. May his soul rest in peace.

  • Dipak Mazumdar wrote on 26th September 2014
    "Doc"!( That is how we started to address you in 1980 when we were together in Hall IV) It is unbelievable that you are not with us anymore. In your heavenly abode too, I am sure, you are always smiling. Such a wonderful person you are. HIS kindness will always be showered on you.

  • B N Banerjee wrote on 27th September 2014
    Himanshu Hatwal never advertised himself and I wonder how many knew about his innate goodness. We do not often think of it, but organisations need goodness. I respected him for the purity of his heart --- never bad mouthed a colleague, never tried to usurp anything to which others had an equal claim, such as space, never pushed his case at the expense of a colleague. He never put his self-interest, or his self-importance, above that of the Institute and, as far as I know, never said "No" when either the Institute or the Department came calling. Today, when some of our colleagues are fighting for the soul of IIT Kanpur, it is pertinent to contemplate that this soul was bequeathed by unpretentious but caring people like him. Our collective goodness coefficient has just been diminished a little.


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