Prof. Chandrakant Shukre (15 June 1947 - 7 January, 2022) (L0263)

We are deeply saddened by Chandrakant Shukre's untimely demise in the early hours of 7th January, 2022. He leaves behind his wife, Vijaya and his son Satyajit.

Shukre (as he was generally known) was born on June 15, 1947 in Nagpur, India. After completing his B.Sc in mathematics from Nagpur University in 1964, he obtained his MSc in Physics from IIT Bombay. He then did his PhD in physics at the University of Pittsburgh, working with Tom Jordan. After a post-doctoral position at the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Berne, Switzerland, Shukre joined the Raman Research Institute in 1976. Around this time his interests switched from particle physics to Astrophysics, which was the main focus of research in the group at RRI. Apart from a three year stint working in CSIRO in Sydney, Australia, Shukre worked continuously at RRI until his retirement in 2007. After this he took up the position of Director of the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium at Bangalore. He has been instrumental in popularizing astronomy in India and in grooming the next generation of astronomers.

Shukre's initial research work was in particle physics, in particular on the constraints imposed by relativity theory on classical particle interactions. In astrophysics, Shukre's research work was mainly focussed on radio emission from pulsars. On the observational side, he has studied molecular line emission from astrophysical sources, including Silicon-Oxide masers from late type stars. He worked on the origin of pulsar velocities and on neutron star magnetic fields. One of his contributions was the debunking of the 'rocket mechanism' which had been proposed to explain the high velocities of pulsars.

Shukre was a jovial and outgoing person and very entertaining in conversation. He did not take himself seriously and was a great raconteur. He often told stories, which were probably funnier in the telling than in reality. He was extremely well read, and interested in literature in several Indian languages as well as English. His memory was prodigious and he could, if the occasion called for it, pull out a mathematical theorem that he had learned some thirty odd years before. He will be sorely missed by all who came into contact with him.

The photograph shows Shuke working in an office in his younger days.