S Chandrasekhar obtained his DSc degree (1955) from Nagpur University; and PhD (1958) and ScD (1987) from University of Cambridge, UK. His specialization was in liquid crystals, and condensed matter. He was Professor and Head, Department of Physics, University of Mysore (1961-71); Professor and Head, Liquid Crystals Laboratory, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore (1971-90); Nehru Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge, UK (1986-87); Bhatnagar Fellow, Honorary Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore and Director, Centre for Liquid Crystal Research, Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: Chandrasekhar's early work was on crystalline optical activity and X-ray diffraction, but he changed his field to liquid crystals in 1961, when he joined University of Mysore. It is generally accepted that the worldwide revival of interest in liquid crystals was due, in no small measure, to the pioneering work of Chandrasekhar and his colleagues. With his versatile interests, he contributed to many aspects of this subject, but probably his best-known work is his prediction and discovery (along with his students BK Sadashiva and KA Suresh) of discotic liquid crystals. He authored Liquid Crystals (Cambridge University Press, 1977, 1992), hailed internationally as a classic book.
Other Contributions: Chandrasekhar was Member of IUPAP Commission on Physics for Development; and of Executive Council, Association of Asia Pacific Physics Societies. He edited three volumes including two on Liquid Crystals (conference proceedings) and was the Editor of Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals (Gordon & Breach).
Awards and Honours: Chandrasekhar's awards and honours include UGC National Lecturer (1971-72); CSIR Silver Jubilee Award (1972); SS Bhatnagar Prize (1972); FICCI Award (1979); CV Raman Award of University Grants Commission (1981); Mahendra Lal Sircar Award (1984); Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (1986); Homi Bhabha Medal of INSA (1987); CV Raman Centenary Medal of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (1988); Jawaharlal Nehru Award by Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (1991); Meghnad Saha Medal of INSA (1992); RD Birla Award of Indian Physics Association (1992); and CV Raman Birth Centenary Award of ISCA (1993). He was also conferred upon a number of lectureships such as Malviya Memorial Lecture of BHU (1976); Princess Leelavathi Memorial Lecture of University of Mysore (1976); BB Roy Memorial Lecture (1982); VN Thatte Memorial Lecture (1983); Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Lecture (1984); Lord Rippon Professorship Lecture of IACS, Kolkata (1984); JC Bose Lecture (1986), Scott Lecture of University of Cambridge (1987); Friday Evening Discourse of The Royal Institution, London (1987); JC Bose Memorial Lecture of Bose Institute(1987); CV Raman Memorial Lecture of IISc (1988); Founder Memorial Lecture of Shri Ram Institute for Industrial Research (1990); AC Joshi Memorial Lecture (1990); Zaheer Science Foundation Lecture of Indian Science Congress Association (1992); and CV Raman Lecture of Department of Atomic Energy, Mumbai (1992). He was Fellow of Royal Society of London; Institute of Physics (London) and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. He was Honorary Fellow of National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; Founding Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS); Vice-President of INSA (1989-90); Founder President of International Liquid Crystal Society (registered in the USA) (1990-92) and Indian Liquid Crystal Society.