Sisir Kumar Sen did his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Calcutta and PhD (Geology) from the University of Chicago. He carried out research at the Gottingen and Bonn universities as Humboldt Fellow, at the University of Adelaide as Leverhulme Fellow, and at the University of Melbourne as Visiting Research Faculty. His entire career was spent at IIT Kharagpur, from where he retired as Professor and Dean (1989). He spent the next ten years at the Jadavpur University under the sponsorship of CSIR and INSA.
Academic and Research Achievements: Sen focussed studies on granulities, a group of high grade metamorphic rocks widely developed in India and elsewhere and unraveled the pressure-temperature melting history of granulite ensembles. Adopting a geochemical approach with emphasis on chemical thermodynamics and crystal chemistry, he solved several important petrological problems relating to origin of antiperthites in plagioclase, genesis of garnet in mafic granulites, fluid fugacity and melting in granulites, and the leptynite-khondalite connection. Work on the distribution patterns of common chemical elements among coexisting silicates led to formulation and modification of several mineral based geothermometers, a geobarometer and a geohygrometer. At IIT Kharagpur, he taught metamorphic petrology and geochemistry and was instrumental in launching postgraduate courses in geochemistry. He published 60 research papers, edited three books, and another two popular science books on Soil and Water Pollution are nearing completion. He has mentored five PhD students.
Other Contributions: Sen was Member of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) Sub-commission on Metamorphic Rocks (1985-2005) and also Chairman of its National Committee (1990-93). He was on the Board of Management of the Geological Survey of India (1990-93). As President Humboldt Club, Kolkata and its Executive Committee Member, he organized seminars on Earthquake, Biodiversity and Eco-tourism. He was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Metamorphic Geology (UK) (1989-95), and on the Editorial boards of several Indian journals.
Awards and Honours: Professor Sen was conferred the Silver Jubilee Research Award (1985) by IIT Kharagpur and Sesquicentennial Gold Medal (2004) by Geological Survey of India. He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1990) and is a Foundation Fellow of the West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology. Sen was elected to Sigma Xi in 1956. He received the Senior GeoSciences award for excellence from the Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India in 2008. He was awarded the DN Wadia Medal of INSA in 2012.