The award honours contributions in the field of statistical physics.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
The Boltzmann Medal, a prestigious international award presented only once every three years by The Commission on Statistical Physics of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), was awarded for the first time to an Indian recipient on the 25th of February.
Professor Deepak Dhar, who turns 71 this year, is currently an Emeritus professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune, and he shares the award with John J Hoefield from Princeton University. The medal honours those who’ve contributed to the field of statistical physics, and will be presented to the awardees at the StatPhys28 conference in Tokyo, Japan, in August of this year.
IISER Pune praised the decision on their official website, and when the announcement was made, Professor Dhar had the following comment to make: “When I got to know about the medal [had] been awarded, I didn’t know what to say and [I] was thankful for [them] choosing me. I feel…what scientist Isaac Newton felt earlier… scientist[s] are children who play on [the] seashore and they collect shells. Some people try to manage some better shells, so I was just lucky to find some nicer problem[s] to understand and manage to get some nice shells. I think these awards are not our driving purpose for doing work, but it is nice to have them.”
Professor Dhar graduated from the University of Allahabad and then went on to do a Master’s in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and a PhD in the US, before joining the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) as a research fellow, and then, eventually, a full time professor until 2016.