Who is Professor Yash Pal, the man who reformed education in India, made a mark in study of cosmic rays, astrophysics
A man known for excellence in Physics, one of India’s most respected scientists Professor Yash Pal became a very known face when he appeared in a popular science series, Turning Point, Doordarshan in the 1980s for explaining scientific concepts to layman. The 90-year-old scientist passed away on Monday night. He had earlier fought back lung cancer and overcame the disease around five years ago. Due to age-old ailments, he was admitted to hospital at the time of his death. His last rites will take place at 3 pm today afternoon.
Born in 1926, in Jhang district, now in Pakistan, a physicist of international repute, Pal was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan, in 2013. He began his career at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. To pursue his PhD, Pal went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in United States and completed it in the year 1958 after which he again returned to the Tata Institute, where he remained until 1983.
Pal made significant contributions to bring reforms in education and in the study of cosmic rays, astrophysics, and high-energy physics etc. Pal was appointed in several schools and higher education reform committees by the government, according to The Times of India. He was also the Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University from 2007 to 2012. The human resources development ministry in 2009 set up a committee on higher education naming after him, the Yash Pal Committee, which Yash Pal chaired, to reform higher education in the country. He served as the Chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) for full single-term of five years.
Among his other achievements, he was the first Director of Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad and was also awarded the Kalinga Prize by UNESCO for the popularisation of science in 2009. Professor Pal served as the Chief Consultant of the Planning Commission between 1983 and 84 and also acted as the Secretary of Department of Science and Technology, from 1984 to 1986.