ProF. A S Vasudeva Murthy

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7 September 1957 - 29 April 2021

A. S. Vasudeva Murthy (Vasu) was born to A. Srinivasa Rao and Aripirala Suvarna on September 07, 1957 in Burla, Sambalpur district of Orissa. He passed away on April 29, 2021. The cause of death was COVID-19.

After obtaining a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Karnatak University, Dharwad, he joined the Indian Institute of Science - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (IISc -TIFR) joint programme in the year 1979 and later became a regular member of TIFR in 1982.

During his initial days at the institute, he immersed himself in various aspects of mathematics and applications. He started his work under the supervision of Prof. S. Kesavan in numerical analysis, and published an excellent article on boundary element methods for the heat equation in 1985. Later, in the spirit of the IISc-TIFR joint programme, he started working with Profs. Roddam Narasimha and J. Srinivasan of IISc on the Ramdas Layer problem. He observed that the Partial Differential Equation (PDE) model proposed by Narasimha and Srinivasan failed to capture the Ramdas Layer phenomenon in numerical simulations. Vasu unravelled the mathematical issues involved in the underlying PDE which was responsible for the failure of the model and his proof of this mathematical result also threw light on the modification to be incorporated in the model to capture the phenomenon. The work eventually led to the model exhibiting the Ramdas Layer phenomenon and his PhD thesis. He obtained his PhD from the Mechanical Engineering department of IISc in the year 1991.

Vasu made further progress on this problem in the later years and also moved on to various theoretical and applied problems. He did several interesting works in numerical analysis in collaboration with Prof. Vidar Thomee, from Chalmers University, Sweden. For his scientific contributions, Vasu was awarded the Sir M. Visvesvaraya award by Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology in the year 1998.

At TIFR Centre for Applicable Mathematics (CAM), he was the face of applications for many decades and took up many projects of national importance. One of the notable projects in which he contributed significantly was the CSIR-initiated New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) project to develop a weather prediction code for Indian monsoon. He actively took part in the execution of several other research projects including the study of sea breeze phenomenon near Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, India with his students at CAM. Even as he was approaching retirement, he was always keen to take up new challenges, the most recent being the application of image processing tools to aid farmers detect initial stages of crop decay. Sadly, after his retirement from TIFR in 2019, he could not follow up and pursue this actively.

Vasu was an excellent communicator and was popular across the country among mathematicians and students working in applied mathematics and numerical analysis. Many young researchers from CAM and also from other institutions in the country immensely benefited from their interactions with him. At CAM he enthusiastically participated in the visiting students programme and advised many students from across the country. In addition to his research and mentoring, he was a member of the editorial board of “The Mathematics Student”, brought out by the Indian Mathematical Society. He was an active participant in scientific administration. He never declined an invitation to join national level committees for the evaluation of scientific projects and to serve in faculty selection/evaluation committees of various institutions. He also served as the Dean of TIFR CAM for a short period during 2018-19.

Vasu’s mother Suvarna was a famous Telugu novelist and his father was employed in Coimbatore cotton mills. Having grown up in different parts of the country, he was well versed in many languages, including, Telugu, Kannada, English, Hindi and Tamil. Vasu is survived by his wife Nirmala and son, Vinod. Sadly, his daughter, Varshini passed away a week prior to his death, also due to COVID-19. Several of us at CAM knew her personally, and her death was a rude shock to us.

The mathematics training at TIFR and the real applied research he carried out make him unique among the mathematicians of his generation. He was one of the very few in the country who could understand and talk with ease, engineering science and sophisticated modern mathematics. With his passing away, we have lost a great human being, a great scholar and an excellent applied mathematician.

Souvik roy, univ of texas, austin

It's absolutely hard for me to believe that Vasu Sir is no longer with us. I had the immeasurable good luck to have him as my PhD advisor, who shaped and changed my career. In him, I experienced true scholarship met with humility. A prolific thinker, he was a very generous, charismatic, and approachable mathematician. Furthermore, I also shared with him a very affectionate relationship. We had numerous memorable and joyful moments at the TIFR-CAM canteen, during workshops at IISC, and while conversing over the phone. Also, whenever I faced hardships, he was always beside me. His words "Sab theek hain", accompanied by a smile, made the world look so relaxed. More than a Ph.D. advisor, he was like a father figure to me.


I wish I could pick up the phone and call Vasu Sir for one more time to express my heartfelt respect. I dearly miss you. R.I.P. Sir.

arnab jyoti das gupta

In the memory of my PhD guide, who never let pressure to build-up, who was always there for help, advice; conversations with whom always showed light.

B V Rathish kumar, IIT Kanpur

It is indeed very shocking to note that Prof. Vasu is no longer with us.....! Prof. Vasu will always remain with us for his kind and generous help both with academic and non-academic matters. On the academic front he was always ready to help us whenever we requested either to review a thesis or to be a valuable resource person or to be a member of an expert committee. As a person he was always very kind, friendly, understanding, supportive and cooperative. His departure is certainly an irreparable loss to the applied mathematics community! We sincerely pray for the peace of the departed soul and for the strength of his family.

Vidar thomee, chalmers univ

a k nandakumaran, iisc

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Thirupathi Gudi, iisc

At the workshop on "Advanced Computational Techniques for Differential Equations with MATLAB", Dept. of Mathematics, IIT Roorkee, Sept. 18-22, 2018.

naoto kumano-go, kogakuin univ., japan

I am a professor at Kogakuin University, Japan, and working to give a mathematically rigorous meaning to Feynman path integrals. I studied partial differential equations and pseudo-differential operators at the University of Tokyo. Because I could write a paper on Feynman path integrals in 2004, I sent its off-prints to many researchers, maybe 100. Of course, there were few responses. However, there were a few kind responses. Prof. Vasudeva was one of them. In July 2009, Prof. Vasudeva gave me a chance to talk four times at Homi Bhabha Birth Centenary Symposium at TIFR-CAM. In March 2010, I invited Prof. Vasudeva to Japan, and Prof. Vasudeva gave talks at Nihon University. In February-March of 2011, I could study at TIFR-CAM as a visiting professor. In August of 2012, I invited Prof. Vasudeva to Japan, and Prof. Vasudeva gave talks at the University of Tokyo. Though I wished to invite Prof. Vasudeva to Japan more, he gave me opportunity to study at TIFR-CAM in August 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Thanks to Prof. Vasudeva and TIFR-CAM, I could earn The 7th (2015) Hukuhara Prize in the Division of Functional Equations, The Mathematical Society of Japan. Prof. Vasudeva was a kind and great man.

Vasudeva Murthy, Naoto Kumano-go and M. Vanninathan in Tokyo, Japan, 2012.

praveen c, tifr-cam

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During Workshop on Advances in Computational Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer at Annamalai University, Oct 2005.

During the conference on the occasion of his retirement, 30 sep. 2019

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Photos by Veena K, Librarian, TIFR-CAM

Hemalatha Arun

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Ameya jagtap, Brown univ.

Prof. Vasu was a rare combination of engineer and mathematician. I was fortunate to work under the guidance of Vasu Sir as his last postdoctoral student for almost 2.5 years. During that period I learned many things from him, both academic as well as things related to life. He truly shaped my research career. He was always a father figure to me, very kind, generous, and easily approachable for any kind of problem. His passion for research and teaching always inspired me. Even after retirement from CAM, he was really passionate to pursue new research topics. In fact, just weeks before his sad demise we were planning to arrange a three days workshop on the topic of Scientific Machine Learning. His sudden departure was a shock and an irreparable loss to the research community.

P S Datti, TIFR-CAM

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Chhatra pal, univ. of delhi

It's very shocking for me that Prof Vasudeva Murthy is no longer with us. I met Prof Vasudeva Murthy in NPDE program in BITS Hyderabad in 2016. He was a very very kind, generous, and easily approachable for any kind of problem. His passion for research and teaching always inspired to us. We sincerely pray for the peace of the departed soul and for the strength of his family.

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