Members of the IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA said they were shocked to learn of the sudden demise of veteran nuclear scientist Dr Srikumar Banerjee in Mumbai on May 23.
Banerjee, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, was a former chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, as well as of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center.
Banerjee, who was recovering from Covid, died of a heart attack. He was 75. He was honored with a Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2005.
“I found Dr Banerjee to be very, very humble despite his huge accomplishments in India’s space research,” Ranbir ‘Ron’ Gupta, president of IIT Kharagpur Foundation, USA, told indica News.
Dr. Srikumar Banerjee will be remembered for his pioneering contributions to Indian science, especially in the areas of atomic energy and metallurgy. He was also an outstanding mentor and institution builder. Saddened by his passing away. Condolences to his family. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 23, 2021
Arjun Malhotra, an Indian serial entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist, who co-founded HCL Group, told indica News that he was shocked to hear of Srikumar Banerjee’s passing.
“I had no idea,” he said when he was told of Banerjee’s death. “I know Srikumar from his IIT days when we were together in the Rajendra Prasad (RP) Hall of residence.
“Srikumar was a couple of years my senior and I remember him being very helpful whenever I had a problem and needed his help,” Malhotra said. “I am still in shock from your message as I just cannot believe he is no more.
“I was in IIT Kharagpur RP Hall from 1965 to 1970,”he reminisced. “Srikumar graduated in 1968. I also met him at the 1968 batch golden jubilee graduation celebration at Kharagpur in 2018, when I happened to be visiting the campus.”
Sending his condolences to Banerjee’s family, Malhotra said: “I am sorry I am in the US and cannot be there for them at this time.”
Dr Srikumar Banerjee also served as guest faculty at the University of Northern Texas, was chancellor at Central University of Kashmir, Srinagar, chairman of the IIT KGP Board of Governors, and visiting professor at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and the University of Delhi.
His major research contributions are in the areas of phase transformations in zirconium and titanium alloys, the effect of radiation on order-disorder transitions and tailoring microstructure and texture of nuclear structural materials through thermo-mechanical processing. He has over 350 research papers, co-authored a book titled Phase Transformation: Examples from titanium and zirconium alloys, and co-edited six books.
His long honors list includes the Bhatnagar prize in Engineering Sciences (1989), Humboldt Research Award (2003), Indian Nuclear Society award (2003). He was a recipient of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from eleven universities and institutes.
He was a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Sciences Academy, Indian National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, India, and The World Academy of Sciences.