AFTER leading the path-breaking and successful experiment of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) for the past 15 years, Professor Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, who turns 65, will retire on July 19. He will be succeeded by Professor Naresh Dadhich, whose appointment as the Director of the IUCAA was announced by the University Grants Commission (UGC), under which the centre functions, in early April.
Dadhich, 59, has been on the faculty of the IUCAA since its founding in 1988. When Narlikar and UGC Chairman Professor Yash Pal conceptualised the creation of IUCAA as a common research and resource centre for university scientists from across the country, Dadhich was invited to be the project coordinator.
"It is a formidable task and an enormous responsibility to steer an institute of the IUCAA's proportion and reputation and more so to succeed a man like Jayant Narlikar whom we all hold in great admiration and awe," Dadhich said. "We have greatly enjoyed building the IUCAA and feel quite gratified when we see our university colleagues using this common facility as it was conceived and dreamt of. With the combined efforts of all my committed colleagues and friends, I shall strive to take up the challenge and hope to measure up to it."
Born on September 1, 1944 in Sarsali village in Rajasthan's Churu district, Dadhich studied in Pilani, Hissar,Vallabh-Vidyanagar and finally at the Pune University where he did his doctoral studies in general relativity under the guidance of the doyen of Indian relativists, Professor V. V. Narlikar, the father of Jayant Narlikar. Subsequently, he joined the faculty of Mathematics, Pune University, before moving to the IUCAA in1988.
Dadhich is a theoretical physicist whose interests lie in the areas of classical and quantum gravity and relativistic astrophysics, particularly their mathematical aspects. Dadhich has recently been associated with a proposal made to the UGC for a funding scheme to rejuvenate the research environment in Indian universities so that their declining academic quality improves and gets strengthened.R. Ramachandran