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P C Mahanta Memorial Lecture

Celebrating 100 Years of Einstein's general Theory of Relativity

12th P C Mahanta Memorial Lecture

Prof P C Mahanta was the founder Head of the Department of this department, who has given a definite shape to this institution. A PhD from Imperial College, London, he was a top-rated physicist of that time, working mainly on material science.

Born in the year 1911 in Bajali, Assam, Prof Mahanta was a visionary from the beginning. After completing his graduation from Cotton College, and masters from University of Calcutta, he joined Cotton College as a Lecturer in 1941. In 1948, he went to the UK to do his PhD from Imperial College, London, where he also earned a diploma from Imperial. On his return, he once again joined Cotton College before coming to Gauhati University as the founder Head of the Department of the newly founded Physics Department, in 1955, and remained till his superannuation.

Every year the Department organises this memorial lecture in the memory and honour of Prof Mahanta and remembers his invaluable contribution. Many famous scientists have graced this occasion in the past, which includes Sir (Prof) Arnold Whittaker Wolfendale, FRS and Astronomer Royal, UK, the famous Astrophysicist, Prof Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, and Prof Yash Pal, former Chairman of UGC. Last  year, we have dedicated the Memorial Lecture to the International Year of Crystallography, which has been celebrated worldwide. This year our theme is 100 Years of Relativity.

The year 2015 marks the hundred years after Albert Einstein formulated his famous General theory of Relativity, which has been more or less the basic framework on which advances in cosmology has been made during past one hundred years. It has been found remarkably accurate in predicting certain natural phenomena which includes bending of light by massive stars. In this year, the 12th Memorial Lecture was delivered on Friday, 20 November, 2015, by the renown physicist from Prof A Prasanna of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad on this theme.

2015 Memorial Lecture :

 Title    One Hundred Years of General Relativity - Should we be beholden to Einstein?
 Speaker  Prof A Prasanna, PRL, Ahmedabad
 Type  Popular Lecture
 Date  Friday, 20 November, 2015


The lecture will try and highlight the importance of the theory of General Relativity (GTR) as the most appropriate and successful theory for describing Gravitation in the study of Astrophysics and Cosmology. The events of the last one hundred years which systematically discovered many aspects of our Universe which can be explained meaning fully by general relativity shows how the creative genius of one individual lead to the present knowledge of our Universe and successfully amalgamated Geometry and Physics into a framework that has accurately accounted for observations as well as has application in a day to day activity of humans.

Biography of Prof A Prasanna

Prof A R Prasanna, Honorary Professor at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), was formerly Dean and Senior Professor at PRL and was the Director of L J Institute of Computer Applications, Ahmedabad, during 2008-13. He obtained his PhD degree in Applied Mathematics (General theory of Relativity) from the University of Pune in1970 and then served as a visiting Scientist at the International Centre for theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy. He was awarded, the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt fellowship in 1973, to work at the University of Bonn in Germany. His main field of research is Gravitation physics and theoretical astrophysics. He has over ninty research publications in reputed (peer reviewed) international journals. He has served on various national bodies on General relativity and was the convener for the National coordinating committee for General Relativity and Gravitation of the UGC during 1981-86. He was a member of the working group of United Nations workshop on Space Science and Technology and its applications within the framework of educational system. His book on “Space and Time to Spacetime”, was published by the Universities Press in 2008. He has written and spoken extensively to the students at various levels on topics of science with an aim to demystify Physics and has produced a six part TV serial on Cosmology for distance education of UGC, apart from giving several radio presentations.