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Scientist P K Kaw who led thermonuclear experiments India dies at 69

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Scientist P K Kaw, a globally-acclaimed plasma physicist who spearheaded India’s efforts to produce energy through thermonuclear fusion has died in Ahmedabad on 18th of June 2017. He was 69.

Key Notes:

PK Kaw had founded Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar.

  • Kaw, who was honoured with a Padma Shri in 1985 and was the founder director of the IPR.
  • The nodal agency that has been coordinating with other countries in building the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France by 2019.
  • ITER is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject.
  • Kaw had also constructed the country’s first indigenously-designed machine for controlling thermonuclear fusion.Scientist P K Kaw who led thermonuclear experiments India dies at 69
  • Kaw began his career as a post-doctoral fellow in Princeton University, USA, after finishing his PhD from IIT-Delhi.
  • From 1971-75 he was in India as associate professor and professor at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad.
  • Thereafter, he returned to Princeton and initiated work on magnetically-confined fusion plasmas.
  • In the early 1980s, Kaw and some of his former colleagues at PRL succeeded in persuading the Government of India to set up a major programme of plasma physics at PRL.
  • He returned to India in 1982 to direct this programme.
  • In 1986, this programme was separated from PRL and the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-funded IPR given a campus in Gandhinagar.
  • In 1996, IPR was taken over by Department of Atomic Energy with a considerable upscaling of efforts on thermonuclear fusion.
  • After 2012, he continued to work with the institute as DST Year of Science Professor.