Prof. S.V. Subramanyam (1943-2015)



Born: September 3rd 1943; Nangli, Kolar district, Karnataka

Prof. S V Subramanyam obtained his BSc and MSc degrees in Physics from Mysore University in 1962 and 1964 respectively. He worked as a Lecturer at National College, Bangalore during 1964-65. He completed his PhD in the Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, in 1969 under the guidance of Prof. E.S. Rajagopal. In 1970, Subramanyam joined the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore as a Lecturer in the Department of Physics. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1976, Associate Professor in 1981 and became a full Professor in 1986. He retired from the services of the Institute in 2006. During his tenure, he held several positions of responsibility such as Chairman of the Central Cryogenic Facility (1987-90), Associate Chairman of Department of Physics (1990-93), Divisional Chairman of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (1993-98) and Dean of Science Faculty. He was also the Convener of the Extension Lecture Program of IISc, the Coordinator of the Program to improve Science and Mathematics Education in the High Schools of Karnataka, the Coordinator of Proficience, and the convener of the IISc Young Fellowship program. In addition, he held the position of Chairman, Faculty Club as well as President, IISc Alumni Association.


Prof. Subramanyam took his responsibilities towards the society very seriously. His role in popularizing science among school children in rural areas was highly appreciated. He delivered more than 1000 lectures on science topics in schools, colleges and public places. Many of his lectures were delivered in the local Kannada language and broadcast through radio and television programs. He was the Vice President of the Indian Association of Physics Teachers, the Chapter President of the Indian Physics Association, the Governor of the Centre for Science and technology, Vice President of the Society for Development of Women and Children, the Treasurer of the Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishad, Council Member of the National Education Society of Karnataka, Honorary Secretary of the Materials Research Society of India, the Chairman of the National Talent Search Committee in science and mathematics constituted by the Government of Karnataka, the Chairman of the Committee to prepare books in science and mathematics for the high schools of the Government of Karnataka, and the author of NCERT books in physics for XI and XII standard.



Academic and Research Achievements:

Prof. Subramanyam was interested in several research areas such as multiphase fluid dynamics, critical point phenomena, low temperature physics, high pressure physics, synthetic metals, conducting polymers, superconductivity and carbon based materials. Some highlights of his scientific research include the discovery of the failure of the rectilinear diameter behaviour in the critical region, observation for the first time the field induced electrical switching with memory effects in charge transfer complexes, elucidation of conduction mechanism in polypyrrole, development of high pressure clamps for transport measurements at high pressure and low temperature and high magnetic fields, and, discovery of high conducting amorphous phase of carbon with unusual transport and other properties. Subramanyam had published about 110 research papers and written 23 books. He had guided about 20 students for their PhD degree.


Awards and Honours: Prof. Subramanyam was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences. He bagged the Mysore University Jubilee prize in 1964, the Commonwealth academic staff fellowship of the University of Oxford, the Materials Research Society of India Medal in 1990, the MSIL Professorship at IISc (1993-96) and the Jaya-Jayant best teacher award in 1998.


Prof. Subramanyam breathed his last on August 1, 2015, leaving behind his wife, son and two daughters.