SPSTI deeply mourns the sudden passing away of internationally renowned star scientist of India Professor Thanu Padmanabhan (affectionately and universally called as ‘Paddy”), serving as Distinguished Professor at Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) at Pune. He suffered a massive heart failure while taking bath on the morning of September 17, 2021 and passed away within minutes, before arriving at the hospital. He is survived by his spouse Astrophysicist Prof. Vasanthi and his Astrophysicist daughter Dr. Hamsa.
A gifted child with a curious mind, like C V Raman, Paddy has been the most famous student of iconic Cosmologist and Theoretical Physicist Prof. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar (JVN) at TIFR, Mumbai. JVN created IUCAA and Paddy followed him a few years later at Pune as its Dean (Core Academic Programmes) from 1997 to 2015. Paddy carved a niche for himself in the fields of Theoretical Physics, Structure formation in the Universe, Gravitation and Quantum Gravity, Statistical Mechanics of Gravitating systems, Dark Energy,  and the popularization of science, a trait he inherited from his guru JVN. The global physics community and society at large in India has lost a Titan with the passing away of Paddy.
Paddy had written his first research paper as a BSc student like C V Raman, he has been a very  prolific Research Scientist all through his scientific career along with a very passionate teacher and champion  of science popularization in print media, cartoon strips and YouTube.
Recipient of innumerable prestigious Science Prizes, Awards and Fellowships of Science academies nationally as well as internationally, he was honoured with Padma Shri in 2007. The Infosys science Prizes in five fields were announced for the first time in 2009, and Paddy was in that select list along with Asoke Sen, FRS, K VijayRaghavan, FRS, Ms. Upinder Singh and Abhijit Banerjee (Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2019).
Paddy’s innovative courses uploaded on YouTube and his numerous text books in Physics for undergraduate and Advanced students would make Paddy immortal.
In recent years, he was engaged in completing a New Complete Course on theoretical Physics, as a sequel to the ‘Landau and Lifshitz’ Series of eight Physics Text Books first published in USSR and later translated in English in 1950s.
“Paddy” was adopted as a mascot and brand ambassador of SPSTI. A public lecture titled, ‘’From Sun, moon and stars to Calendar’, delivered by him at Tagore Theatre for school students under the aegis of SPSTI has been the most well attended and the longest public engagements of its kind in Chandigarh Tricity region.
His last visit to Tricity was as Adjunct Faculty at IISER, Mohali few months before the start of lockdown due to Covid pandemic. Prof. Jasjit Singh Bagla had the distinction of being a PhD student of Paddy at IUCAA. He shoulders all the responsibilities relating to popularization of astronomy amongst school and college students on behalf of SPSTI.