Professor Arun Kumar Biswas was born on 1st August 1934. He received his M.Sc (Tech.) in Applied Chemistry and D.Phil. from Calcutta University in 1955. Later, he received his S.M. from MIT, USA in 1962. Subsequently, he joined Metallurgical Engineering Department at IIT Kanpur as Assistant Professor in December 1963. He was one of the founder members of the department. He became Associate Professor and Professor in 1968 and 1971, respectively. Professor attained superannuation on July 31, 1994. After superannuation, he served as the Mahendralal Sircar Research Professor in History of Science at the Asiatic Society, Kolkata (1995-2001), as the AICTE Emeritus Fellow at the Jadavpur University (2001-2004) and INSA Research Fellow in Kolkata. He was a member of the INSA National Commission for History of Science and also its editorial board member.
Professor Biswas authored 150 technical papers and 25 monograph. He built his international reputation in diverse fields including History of Science, Applied Chemistry, Mineral Engineering, Languages and Literature, Linguistics, History of Religion and Archaeo-metallurgy. His sterling contributions in the field of history of minerals and metals and archaeo-metallurgy - available in the form of several monographs and a series of publications in the INSA periodical, Indian Journal of History of Science - are most well known internationally.
Professor Biswas was a prolific writer. Some of his well known books and monographs either authored or edited by him include - Science in India (1969), Frontiers in Applied Chemistry (1989), Minerals and Metals in Ancient India in two volumes (1996), History, Science and Society in the Indian context (2001), Minerals and Metals in the Pre-Modern India (2001), Father Lafont of St. Xavier's College, Kolkata and the Contemporary Science Movement (2001), Science in Archaeology and Archaeo-materials (2005), Mineral Processing to Elemental Science in the Medieval World: India and Europe (2011) and Mineral Engineering in India - Reflections (2012).
In the field of Mineral Engineering, Professor Biswas was a founder member of the Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers and remained passionately devoted to this field till the end. He guided more than 20 Masters and PhD students while at IIT Kanpur. At IIT Kanpur, he used to teach a basic undergraduate course in mineral engineering.
Professor Biswas breathed his last on 30th November 2015. Professor Biswas has been a personification of the best of human values. We express our heartfelt gratitude and respect towards him not only for his pedagogical abilities and academic competence, but also for the values that he stood for as a socially sensitive individual. May his soul rest in utmost Peace.
(wrote on 4th Dec, 2015)
I deeply mourn the untimely death of Arun-da as he has been continuously writing about the history of science and its link with the religious practice in Indian subcontinent. I learnt a lot from him like several others. A serious person but very open hearted soul our Arun-da will be in our memory for ever especially when benign science will be talked.My condolence to Sulekha-di ( Mrs. Biswas ) and Deepan ( his son) and several others.