Hema Ramachandran was one of the finest scientists that India could ever produce. She was also an excellent teacher & mentor. She completed her master’s degree from IIT Bombay and went on to join the training school of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. She was recognized by an INSA for the Young Scientist Award for her exemplary work in high-pressure physics and uncovered a novel phenomenon, viz. a material becoming amorphous when subjected to pressure.
After her marriage, she had to move to Bangalore and joined the BARC’s seismological station which was altogether a different field of science.
In July 1995, she joined the Raman Research Institute as a faculty and initiated
the Optics program. Her research program dealt with light propagation in random media
with or without amplification. In 1998, she ventured into atomic physics by beginning the Cold
Atoms program at the Raman Research Institute. She was made the head of all research facilities at
RRI, a position she held for nearly half a decade. This was because she loved working in the lab and would go to great lengths to be in the lab even after completing all her administrative work. Her research accomplishments in pressure-induced amorphization, random lasers, quantum walks of light, etc. are highly regarded by international experts. Her persistence and hard work made her rise to the ladders and chair high-profile governmental committees such as, for instance, Programme Advisory Committees or the BRICS Working Groups.
On her personal front, she was known as a lady with immense dignity & grace. She made it a point that whoever approached her was made to feel welcomed. She was a joyful and fun-loving person. Her sincere, focused, and hardworking attitude was an inspiration to many of her students.
Her last few years were spent battling Cancer and she fought a long fight against this deadly disease before succumbing to it at the age of 58 years. But even during her period of illness she exhibited great resilience and would return to work after her phases of treatment. Her unmatched positivity arose from two adages she lived by; the first one is ” Be not sad a rose bush has thorns; be glad a thorn bush has roses”, and the other goes “It is darkest before dawn”.
My one-line takeaway: Persistence & resilience do leave a mark even after you cease to exist.
PS: I have planned to take up non-fiction this year as my theme for the A2Z challenge, where every day in the month of April ( except Sundays) I will be writing about women in the stream of science and their contributions. Disclaimer -The information collected is from different sources available online.
The main objective is to draw inspiration and share information about such great lives who did it, despite all difficulties in their life.
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z .