Narasimhaienger Mukunda obtained his BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from Delhi University (1958), and then joined the physics section of the Atomic Energy Establishment Trombay Training School. After two years in the Theoretical Physics Group of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, he went to the University of Rochester, NY, USA, and completed his PhD (Physics) (1964) under the guidance of ECG Sudarshan. Following Research Associateships at Princeton and Syracuse Universities, he returned to TIFR (1967) as a member of the Theoretical Physics Group. In 1972 he moved to the newly created Centre for Theoretical Studies at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, from where he retired in 2001.
Academic and Research Achievements: Mukunda has worked in several areas of mathematical and theoretical physics such as group structure and representations for physical problems, in particular, the Lorenz and Poincare groups and certain compact Lie groups; infinite component relativistic wave equations; theory of constrained classical dynamical systems; and applications to relativistic point particles with internal structure. In quantum mechanics his areas of work are: coherent states and their generalizations; new approaches to geometric phases; theory of Wigner distributions; classical optics including polarization, partial coherence, beam characterization and propagation problems. In quantum optics his work includes: characterization of nonclassicality, squeezing and connections to entanglement. He has published about 180 research papers and co-authored four books. Mukunda has guided 6 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Professor Mukunda has established the series of summer schools in Theoretical High Energy Physics of the Science and Engineering Research Council, DST (1985-86). He was a SERC Member (1991-94). During 1996-2000, he served as the Founding Chief Editor of Resonance, a journal of science education, published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. He has also helped set up the KVPY, Fellowships programme of the DST (1999-2001). He is involved in the science education activities of the Indian Academy of Sciences since 1998. He has written a large number of expository articles meant for general audiences on both technical and significant historical aspects of physics; on some of the philosophical concerns of a practicing physicist; extended reviews of several classics of the scientific literature; and many pieces of a pedagogical nature. He served as INSA Council Member (1987-89).
Awards and Honours: Professor Mukunda received the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1980). He received the Meghnad Saha Award of the UGC (1985), the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Lecture Award of INSA (1992), and Sir M Visvesvaraya State Award from Government of Karnataka (2003). He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, the National Academy of Sciences, India, Allahabad, and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Trieste.