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Obituary - Dr.Viswanathan

Rama Viswanathan ramav@beloit.edu
dateFri, Mar 5, 2010 at 7:43 AM
subjectSuki Homes Trust Obituary

Dr. R. Viswanathan, 86, Senior Scientific Officer (retired),Chemistry Department, BARC, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2010. Born in January, 1924, Dr. Viswanathan obtained his post-graduate (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from Madras University just as India became independent. He belonged to the first batch of scientists and researchers in an independent India who obtained their doctorates from premier scientific institutes in the West. Dr. Viswanathan obtained his D.Sc. in Chemical Oceanography from Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany in 1958, while on leave from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Mandapam Camp. He was one of the first experts in chemical oceanography in India. As a pioneering oceanographer, he researched the primary productivity of the oceans, which is now becoming very important given the issues with land-based agriculture.

As a health physicist, and later as a chemist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in the 60s and 70s, Dr. Viswanathan also became an expert in the radioecology of aquatic organisms and studied how radioactive discharges from nuclear reactors entered the marine cycle, were concentrated in aquatic organisms, and then entered the human food chain. One of the most interesting activities that he participated in was perhaps the last great expedition on earth, namely the mapping of the Indian Ocean in the 1960's by an international team of scientists on board specially-equipped research ships from at least fifteen different countries.

Dr. Viswanathan was also an ardent environmentalist, long before the crucial need for preserving the environment and for sustainable development was recognized in India. He was one of the first members of the Society for a Clean Environment (SOCLEEN), established in Mumbai in the early 1970s to study and suggest solutions for Mumbai's chronic and long standing pollution problems. Apart from his scientific scholarship, Dr. Viswanathan was fluent in many languages, including German and Russian. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr. Viswanathan's family, including wife Jaya, sons Ramaswami(Kanchana), Jagannathan (Meera), daughters Indira (Mark), Bhavani (Kumar), and grandchildren Maya, Dhananjay, Malavika, Rajeev, Mrinalini, and Vanisha extend their humble and sincere thanks and gratitude to the management, staff, and members of Suki Homes Trust for their unstinted help and support. In particular, they wish to thank the founders Mr. and Mrs. Narayanan, and Mr. and Mrs.Ganapathy for providing a most caring and comfortable environment and infrastructure.
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