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Professor P. T. Narasimhan


Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur


Distinguished scientist Professor P. T. Narasimhan passed away on May 3rd, 2013 in Sunnyvale, California, USA after a long illness. He was 84 years old.

Professor Narasimhan, affectionately known as PTN to his many colleagues and students, was born in Cuddalore, India. He obtained Bachelors and Masters degrees in Physics and Chemistry at Madras Christian College and earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He performed post-graduate work at Michigan State University in the US and subsequently held faculty positions at Michigan State University, University of Illinois and Columbia University in the United States. He returned to India in 1962 as one of the early faculty members at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Over the next twenty five years, he established himself as ascientific leader and dedicated teacher in the fields of magnetic resonance and theoretical physical chemistry. He was instrumental in building I.I.T. Kanpur into one of the preeminent centers of academic research in the basic sciences. After his retirement from I.I.T. Kanpur in 1987, Professor Narasimhan moved to the United States and initiated a new phase of his research into novel medical and biological applications of magnetic resonance spectroscopy, first in association with the Huntington Memorial Research Institute and later at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Professor Narasimhan was accorded numerous recognitions for his contributions to science. He was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (1970), Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Sciences (1972; also serving as their General Secretary from 1977-1981) and Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India (1973). He was awarded the prestigious Sir Shanti SwarupBhatnagar award in the Chemical Sciences (1970). In 2013, in recognition of his services he was awarded the title ofInstitute Fellow by the Board of Directors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Throughout his career, Professor Narasimhan also enjoyed a reputation as an inspiring teacher and sought after mentor to scores of young undergraduate and graduate students. Outside science, music was Professor Narasimhan's abiding passion- he was a strong supporter of Indian Classical music and was himself an accomplished flautist in the Indian Carnatic musical tradition, performing in India and later on in the United States.

Professor Narasimhan is survived by his wife of 57 years, Leena and their children Dr. Nalini Murdter, Dr. Vikram Narasimhan and Dr. NandiniNarayan and six grandchildren. The family is planning private funeral services.

  • VC  wrote on 15th May 2013
    PTN was one of the greats of IITK. He not only built the Department of Chemistry (along with Prof. C. N. R. Rao and Prof. M. V. George) but also contributed immensely to the Institute as a whole. The cherished IITK value system is largely due to the efforts of pioneers such as PTN. PTN was a person endowed with a razor-sharp intellect. He also was a teacher par excellence. I had the great privilege of being a tutor in his CHM-101 class which he taught a year before he was to retire. As a researcher, PTN was well ahead of his time. Theoretical Chemistry was quite nascent in India when PTN started his research. His contribution to this area was not only the many fundamental insights that he provided but also the several excellent students that he mentored, many of whom occupy prominent academic positions in the country and outside. PTN also pioneered research in magnetic resonance in the country and his imprint is again seen through his pupils. PTN also contributed enormously to instrumentation having successfully embarked on building a home-built NQR spectrometer. Apart from his academic excellence PTN was also a very warm human being. We had the honor of knowing him personally. He will be sorely missed. VC

  • S. Sarkar  wrote on 15th May 2013
    A personal homage: I fondly remember his counseling and suggestion when I started my teaching career at IITK. In fact he promoted my early efforts in research. I have not seen any soul so witty like him. To build science at IITK his role has been modern Chanakyya with his razor edged intelligence. So long he was at IITK I respectfully placed him without fail one of the examiners in the oral board in all the PhD students of mine to watch the seriousness of holding a viva voce examination. I owe him a lot . Thank you Prof. Narasimhan.

  • Dr.V.N.Sharma wrote on 16th May 2013
    Though I was a technical staff in the Dept. of Met. Engg. I got to know Prof PT Narsimhan while auditing his UG and PG Chemistry courses incl. one on Quantum Chemistry during 1966-72. I got closer to him as a representative of IITK Karmachari Sangh and I was blessed with his personal affection after that. Always smiling and going around with positive outlook on all issues Prof Narsimhan was a wonderful teacher, one of the few bests IITK had at that time. Extremely sorry to hear of his sad demise. May his soul rest in peace and the members of his family get strength to bear the loss.

  • Amrit Yegnanarayan wrote on 16th May 2013
    May his soul rest in peace. Below is a tribute published by his illustrious students;view=fulltext

  • Narsingh Deo wrote on 17th May 2013
    My wife and I were saddened at the news. He was an admired colleague and much-loved member of the IIT-faculty family. Narsingh Deo

  • p.r.k.rao wrote on 18th May 2013
    As an erstwhile colleague at IIT/K and a contemporary at IISc, I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved family members and homage to a learned scholar and a very amiable PTN. prkrao

  • Shivkant Kaushik wrote on 18th May 2013
    I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved family members and homage to a great scholar, a very amiable, wonderful teacher, excellent researcher and Pure Hearten Soul Professor P. T. Narasimhan. May his soul rest in peace. Thanks sir for your immense contribution and research to the field of Chemistry. From, Shivkant Kaushik Assistant Professor JaganNath University, Jaipur

  • Shahid Jameel wrote on 19th May 2013
    I had the privilege of being taught by PTN during my MSc at IIT-K, and also of knowing him as the father of my friend and classmate Nalini. My sincere condolences to Mrs. Narasimhan, Nalini, Vikram and Nandini and their extended families. A wonderful person, whose contributions to teaching and research has left a legacy that will be hard to match. Till we meet again, PTN!!

  • Manvendra Dubey wrote on 20th May 2013
    Prof. P. T. Narasimhan was a passionate scientist, teacher, mentor and musician. He was thoughtful, insightful and to the point. We were discovered modern quantum chemistry in his fascinating classes at IITK. I was privileged to do my Masters Thesis on NQR under him. His group was a tight family and we all respected and loved him. He nurtured and inspired generations of scientists at IIT Kanpur - fostering independence and high standards. He was also patient and allowed his students time and space for self discovery. His style was effective and many of his students have thriving science careers in diverse fields ranging from theoretical chemistry to magnetic resonance to biophysics to climate science. After retiring from IITK Prof PTN made geminal contributions to the nascent field of neuro-imaging at Caltech. He was a pillar at IIT Kanpur who research has had a global impact and his legacy will continue forever. He will be sorely missed by us and live fondly in our memories as one of the giants who built IIT-Kanpur as a world-class science institution. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Narasimhan, Nalini, Vikram and Nandini.

  • Hariom Tiwari wrote on 22nd May 2013
    rest in peace......a very big loss to iit kanpur and india.

  • Albert Thomas wrote on 22nd May 2013
    My deepest condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren

  • Subho Mozumdar wrote on 25th May 2013
    So sorry to hear the news. I remember him as my teacher in the Chem. Binding Course at I.I.T., Kanpur. A flamboyant orator, with sharp intellect and spontaneous witty attitude, he mesmerized us in his course. I would literally forget to look at my watch during his class and I still preserve his lecture notes for the class as one of my treasures from I.I.T., Kanpur. May his soul rest in peace.

  • RAY SAHEB PANDEY wrote on 26th May 2013
    An outstanding teacher. My heartiest condolences to the bereved members of his family. May his soul rest in peace.

  • naveen kishore wrote on 29th May 2013
    May his soul rest in peace.A great man with great achievements

  • atmendra singh wrote on 1st June 2013
    sir,you are very very noble professor so i think that i meet you

  • S.Aravamudhan wrote on 9th June 2013
    It is great loss to the scientific community to have lost an eminent Scientist, a distinguished teacher, and a gem of a person as a human being. May god bless his family with fortitude and courage a this juncture.

  • Prof.K.S.V. Santhanam wrote on 11th June 2013
    I was shocked to hear the message of passing away of Dr. Narasimhan. I used to have good interactions with him while I was in TIFR. He is a very pleasant and highly knowledgeable person.Big music lover. He was a great admirer of carnatic musician Madurai Mani Iyer. Although I moved to USA in 1998, I did not have an occassion to meet him-that is sad for me. Myself and my wife send our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Narasimhan, whom we had met in TIFR.

  • R.Ranganathan wrote on 13th June 2013
    My deepest condolences to you all. He was an outstanding scientist. His lectures were all spontaneous. He very rarely referred to any notes. As a matter of fact, he never used to bring papers with him to the lecture room. May his soul rest in peace.

  • Royce Mohan wrote on 17th June 2013
    PTN was a brilliant and caring man who was very attentive to the needs of his department and students. I will cherish his memory and the advice he gave to me before departing for the US. He will be truly missed.

  • Manju Grover Venugopal wrote on 17th June 2013
    PTN, rest in peace. PTN will be greatly missed. He was an excellent teacher, researcher and a human being. As a M.Sc., Chemistry student (batch of 1984-1986 at IIT-K), I learnt incalculable load of fundamentals of Chemistry from him. He made everything so effortless to grasp and comprehend. His demise is disheartening loss not only to the whole IIT-K community but to all of his former students, friends and colleagues spread throughout India and the USA. PTN's immense heritage and influences to Chemistry and Science will be missed by everyone who knew him. It will be very difficult to fill the void left by his passing. My very sincere condolences to Mrs. Narasimhan and her immediate and extended family.

  • R Ramachandran wrote on 18th June 2013
    Vijaya and I are grieved to know the demise of PTN, whom we had known as a colleague of mine, friend of the family and fondly remember the days at IIT together. We also got to know him as a Violinist of consummate skill and came together in forming Karnatak Sangeetha Sabha at IIT Kanpur. Our heartfelt condolences to Leena, Nandini and the rest in the family.

  • SURESH BABU wrote on 22nd June 2013
    may his soul rest in peace.Prays to god to bless his family to overcome the present crisis.

  • Debabrata Goswami wrote on 3rd July 2013
    Professor P.T. Narasimhan was PTN for all even for a student. Though he was leaving the year I came in as a student, I was fortunate enough to see his violin performance in his farewell. RIP.

  • LathaRaman wrote on 16th July 2013
    Leena Mami Please accept my heartfelt condolences It is really shocking to me and great loss to me as I lost my maternal uncle Latha daughter of Rajan

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