Remembering Dr Narayan Chandra Rana

Well known to all amateurs in India Professor Narayan Chandra Rana passed away on August 22nd, 1996 at Pune, at the age of 42.

He was born on October 12, 1954 in Sauri, a village in southern Midnapore, West Bengal. He was the most brilliant student at the local school, Sauri Bholanath Vidyamandir. At school he met a graduate from Calcutta named Manindra Narayan Lahiri, avid sky watcher, who introduced Rana to the beauty of the star-studded sky. Manindra Narayan 's observation sessions would have Rana as his assistant well past midnight.

At The Presidency College he met Professor Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri, the cosmologist of world renown, who taught him Cosmology and General Relativity.

Rana joined the TIFR, Bombay in 1977 where he began his research in astrophysics with Professor Jayant Vishnu Narlikar.His thesis was entitled "An investigation of the properties of intergalactic dust" which marked the beginning of his lifelong fascination with the study of the distribution of chemical elements in the universe. Rana was awarded the INSA Young Scientist Award in 1983 and the Year’s Best Thesis award in the School of Physics, TIFR. He acquired an international reputation for his work on Comets, the formation of the solar system, and of stars and galaxies.

In spite of non-cooperative health and recurrent problems with his pace maker, Professor Rana has left his mark in many branches of Astrophysics and in Amateur Astronomy in India. He was the Chairman of the CIAA. His recent project of measuring the diameter of the Sun during the total solar eclipse on 24th October 1995 involving a large team of young students, was a very challenging one. With the knack of reaching out to the level of a layman, he was a very famous figure among amateur astronomers. Anybody who has ever had an opportunity to talk to him or hear him will agree that he was capable of infusing an almost breathless inspiration.

All his students, colleagues and the amateur astronomers community in particular will miss him for ever.

- Kalyani Abhyankar,
Administrative Officer, IUCAA Pune.
Nec Member - CIAA

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