Rajiah Simon did his BSc (1970) and MSc (1972) from the Madurai University and PhD (1985) from Indian Institute of Science specializing in Theoretical Physics. He is Senior Professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.
Academic and Research Achievements: Simon solved the longstanding problem of reconciling the Heisenberg-Weyl metaplectic structure of scalar Fourier optics with the fundamental Poincare symmetry of Maxwell's equations, and generalized Fourier optics to electromagnetic beams. Simon introduced the concept of time-evolving geometric phase, based on which he designed and performed an experiment to fine-tune the frequency of a laser beam. Simon has developed a new and comprehensive quantum kinematic approach to geometric phase based on the hitherto unnoticed Bargmann invariants, and shown that the classical Gouy effect is the geometric phase associated with the Lobachevskian geometry underlying the metaplectic group. He has proposed a scheme for observing Gouy effect in squeezed light; and has proved that the geometric phase measured in optical interference experiments is the Hannay angle, not the Berry phase. The deep connection between the real symplectic groups and the Wigner-Weyl-Moyal methods in quantum mechanics and optics have been brought to light in Simon's work. The power of these methods in analyzing multimode noise matrices and squeezing, as well as evolution under quadratic Hamiltonians have been established by him. He has generalized Hamilton's theory of SU(2) turns to the noncompact SL (2, R) = SU (1,1); established the relationship to geometric phase; and used turns to solve important synthesis problems in optics. He has shown that the modular symmetry, famous in string theory, is shared by diffraction grating as well.
Awards and Honours: Simon is a recipient of SS Bhatnagar Prize (1993). He is a Fellow, Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore.