Dr. Anil Kumar Pandey ( November 8 1958 - 23 April 2021 ) (L0530)

ARIES family is deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Dr. Anil Kumar Pandey, former Director of ARIES, Nainital. He passed away in the early hours of April 23, 2021 in Haldwani. He is survived by his wife, mother and son.

Dr Anil Kumar Pandey completed his M.Sc. from Kumaun University, Nainital in 1979 and thereafter joined Uttar Pradesh State Observatory in 1980 as a scientific officer. He completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr H. S. Mahra. He continued his services in the State Observatory and thereafter in ARIES and subsequently was appointed as the Director of ARIES in March, 2017. After his superannuation in November, 2018, he was residing in Haldwani.

In the early years of his career as a research scholar in the Observatory, he shared the credits for discovering and studying ring systems and atmosphere in Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. He contributed to several important celestial observations from the observatory. His main research interests were in study of young star formation. He is considered an international expert in this area. He published more than 140 research papers of international repute and his research works are well cited all around the world. Eleven research scholars completed their Ph.D. under his supervision. He was awarded the Astronomical Society of India “Young Astronomer Award” in 1983-84 and Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Research Award in 2001. He was also a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India and a member of the International Astronomical Union. He was an active member of the Astronomical Society of India and served on the Executive Council during 2012-2015. Due to his active involvement and forefront research publications, he maintained a very successful and long collaboration with astronomers in India and from different countries like Japan, France, Taiwan, and Thailand. Post retirement also, he remained active in research and published research papers – the most recent came just a few weeks ago.

He played important roles in the development of the Observatory and its various observational facilities such as the first digital charge-coupled device camera system at the Observatory in Nainital, site survey works for a large optical telescope in Uttarakhand, the 3.6 meter Devasthal Optical Telescope project and its back-end instruments in the near infrared and optical bands, and the 4-meter International Liquid Mirror Telescope project. He was member of several reputed committees such as Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore; Board member of the DST’s ASEAN-India Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation, etc.

He had interests in gardening and recently got involved in clay-works such as flower-pots and art-works. He was also an avid lover of animals. His students, friends and colleagues will always miss him as a successful researcher, kind mentor and a human being.