Renowned astrophysicist Professor Yash Pal, who did yeoman work in the field of cosmic rays and high energy physics, died here on Monday night due to age-related illness. He was 90. A passionate educator who became popular specially with children for his programmes that enunciated tough subjects in simple terms, Yash Pal made significant contributions over the years in areas of cosmic rays, high energy physics, astrophysics, science education and communication.
Yash Pal was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2013 and Padma Bhushan in 1976. He was chairman of University Grants Commission (1986-91) and Secretary Department of Science and Technology (1984-86). Yash Pal was fellow and honorary fellow of several organisations including Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Science, and Indian Society of Astronautics and was on the editorial boards of several scientific journals.
He was awarded INSA award for science popularisation in 2000. A multi-faceted personality, Yash Pal was associated with science magazine TV series "Turning Point".
He also played a role in developing institutions such as Space Development Centre, Ahmedabad; Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi, and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune.
In October 2011, he was awarded the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for excellence in public administration, academics and management.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi were among those who paid tributes to Prof. Yash Pal. Modi said the country has lost a brilliant scientist and academician. "Pained by Professor Yash Pal's demise. We have lost a brilliant scientist and academician who made a lasting contribution to Indian education," Modi tweeted.
Sharing his picture with the eminent astrophysicist, Modi said: "Interacted with Professor Yash Pal extensively on many occasions including the National Children's Science Congress in Gujarat in 2009."
Rahul Gandhi described his death as a great loss to the nation. "A scientist and a passionate educator who understood the true value of learning, Professor Yash Pal's passing is a great loss for all of us," he said.
Yash Pal completed his post graduation in physics from Panjab University and joined Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1959. He gained a PhD degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958.