RENOWNED NUCLEAR physicist Bikash Sinha, a former director of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) and the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), died here on Friday.
Sinha, 78, who was suffering from age-related ailments, was a recipient of Padma Bhushan in 2010 for his contribution to science and technology.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, condoling his demise, described him as a talented nuclear physicist and illustrious son of Bengal. “Saddened to know about the untimely demise of the great scientist Bikash Sinha,” Banerjee posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Governor C V Ananda Bose said, “Deeply pained that Dr Bikash Sinha has left for his heavenly abode. He was a personal friend ever since I joined the Department of Atomic Energy. An eminent scientist and a good human being… May the soul of the dear departed rest in peace.”
The SINP and VECC, under his directorship, collaborated with the CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) for experiments in particle physics.
Sinha had held the Homi Bhaba chair at the VECC and was a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy.
Born in a zamindar family of Kandi in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, he studied physics at Presidency College in Kolkata, before pursuing higher studies in the subject at King’s College, Cambridge.
Sinha, a fellow of several academies including 3rd World Academy of Sciences, Italy, and recipient of numerous awards, contributed immensely to the field of Quark Gluon Plasma, a state of matter in quantum chromodynamics
which exists at extremely high temperature and/or density. He led the team from India to participate in the experiments at CERN, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the USA and at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Germany.
A recipient of Padma Shri in 2001 and the SN Bose Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress Association in 1994, he was conferred by the West Bengal government the state’s highest award ‘Bangabibhushan’ in 2022 and also the ‘Rabindra Smriti Puraskar’ in the same year.
Sinha was the vice-chancellor of West Bengal University of Technology. Apart from his scientific contributions, he frequently wrote on popular science in Bengali.
Sinha was known for his specialisation in nuclear physics, high energy physics, Quark Gluon Plasma and early universe cosmology.
Sinha was lived in the UK for around 12 years and after returning to India, he joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in 1976. In 1987, he was appointed as director of the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre. He held concurrent charge as director of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics till 2009.