In memoriam: Prof. Akhilesh Pandey

Professor Akhilesh Pandey, retired from the School of Physical Sciences in 2019, passed away on January 21, 2023. He had not been keeping well during the last few years. He is survived by his wife Mamta and their children Aditi and Anish.

Prof. Pandey, born in Jaunpur in 1954, did his schooling there before moving to the Banaras Hindu University for his bachelors and masters. He excelled in his studies there and joined the University of Rochester in 1974 for his PhD, which he completed in 1978. He was initiated into the field of Random Matrix Theory by his supervisor Prof. J. Bruce French and obtained several pioneering results in the course of his thesis work. He continued to enrich the field during his postdoctoral stay at Saclay, France, writing seminal papers, sometimes in collaboration with stalwarts like Madan Lal Mehta and Oriol Bohigas. A particular model developed by Pandey and Mehta now bears their name in the literature, and he is widely recognised for many important contributions to the fields of nuclear physics and quantum chaos.

He joined the SPS, JNU as an Associate Professor in 1987 and was promoted to Professor in 1996. On his invitation, Prof. Madan Lal Mehta spent a year’s sabbatical at JNU, greatly enhancing the prestige of SPS. He continued to produce new and important results in collaboration with his many students as well as with his colleagues at SPS until his retirement. He was also a popular teacher known for the clarity of his exposition and unique style of pedagogy. Akhilesh believed in strict academic rigour and instilled the same in his students. Even while JNU has lost one of a kind of expertise in his passing, his legacy will live among his students, many of who are now faculty at leading institutions across the country.

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