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In fond memory of those we lost in 2017 : Dr. C V Vishweshwara

  • Illustration : Purabi Deshpande / Research Matters

C V Vishweshwara or “Vishu” as he was known to all, was born on 6th March 1938, in Karnataka. He finished most of his schooling in Bengaluru and then his graduation in Mysore University. For his PhD, he moved to Columbia University and later to University of Maryland in USA, to work on general relativity. On returning to India, Vishu joined Raman Research Institute in Bengaluru and then later joined the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.     

A career driven by his passion towards understanding the Universe better, Vishu was among the first to show that a black holes, once they form, could stabilize, adding to the proof that black holes actually existed, at a time that not many believed its existence. He was also the discoverer of the quasi normal modes of black holes, a concept which is essential for finding a black hole using modern-day gravitational wave detectors. For his many contributions to the science of black holes, he was nicknamed the ‘black hole man’ of India. 

Apart from his academic curiosities, Vishu was also a great teacher, often drawing huge crowds at his talks. With a mixture of wonder and humour, Vishu could enthrall a crowd and teach them about the mysteries of the Universe. His passion for teaching led him to start the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru. At the planetarium, Vishu helped conduct several rigorous physics courses to help students understand and visualize the physics they learnt at school.

Vishu passed away on 16th January 2017, in Bengaluru, following a long battle with illnesses. Having inspired a generation of youngsters, the black hole man’s legacy will live on.