Piara Singh Gill obtained his PhD (1940) from the University of Chicago, USA for the study of Cosmic Rays and Particle Physics. He was Lecturer in Physics, FC College, Lahore (1940-47) Professor of Experimental Physics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (1947-48); Officer on Special Duty, Atomic Energy Commission (1948-49); Dean, Faculty of Science (1950-53, 1956-58), Professor and Head, Department of Physics (1949-63), Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh; Director, Gulmarg Research Observatory (1951-71); Director, Central Scientific Instruments Organization, Chandigarh (1963-71); Visiting Professor, Washington State University, USA; Visiting Scientist, National Centre for Atmospheric Research (USA); Adjunct Professor of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and Visiting Scientist, National Bureau of Standards (USA).
Academic and Research Achievements: Gill made a number of discoveries such as (i) burst frequency of cosmic rays vs. size, which helped determine spin of ? mesons; and (ii) azimuthal variations on cosmic ray intensity in Lahore, Gulmarg and Srinagar. He studied the latitude effect on cosmic ray at sea level and at 33,000 ft.
Other Contributions: Gill established the Gulmarg Research observatory jointly by the Aligarh Muslim University and Kashmir University. He also built Central Scientific Instruments laboratory, Chandigarh which emerged as a place known for precision instruments. Gill published Up Against Odds, An Autobiography of an Indian Scientist – Piara Singh Gill (Allied Publishers) and was a member of Editorial Board of Int J Comprehensive Med. He was a Member, Panel of Consultants in Technological Sciences and Applied Research to Director-General of UNESCO (1967) and also the Chairman, Development Council for Instruments Industry, Govt of India. He was Member of INSA Council (1954-56, 1958-59).
Awards and Honours: Gill was the President, Physics Section of Indian Science Congress (1954). He was a Fellow of American Physical Society; National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; and Indian Physical Society. He was the Vice-President of Northern Indian Science Association; President of National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1957-58); and Foreign Secretary (1961-64) of INSA and President, Optical Society of India (1970).