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.
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.
- 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.