V. Balakrishnan (physicist)
|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2008)|
|Fields||Particle physics, many-body theory, dynamical systems, stochastic processes, quantum dynamics, mechanical behavior of solids, and others|
|Alma mater||St. Stephens College
V. Balakrishnan (born 1943 as Venkataraman Balakrishnan) is an Indian theoretical physicist who has worked in a number of fields of areas, including particle physics, many-body theory, the mechanical behavior of solids, dynamical systems, stochastic processes, and quantum dynamics. He is an accomplished researcher who has made important contributions to the theory of anelasticity, continuous-time random walks, and recurrences in dynamical systems.
He received his PhD from Brandeis University in 1970. After a decade at TIFR and IGCAR Kalpakkam, he joined IIT Madras as a Professor of Physics in 1980. He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1985.
In addition to his research, Balakrishnan is a popular and noted teacher of Physics, known for his engaging teaching style, which combines physical insight, mathematical rigor, and wry wit. He has taught a very wide range of courses over the past 30 years from introductory physics to quantum field theory to dynamical systems. Two of his courses (38 lectures on classical physics and 31 on quantum physics) taught at IIT Madras through National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) are available on YouTube, and are extremely popular, having received about 1 million views in all (as of December 2011). In addition to that, a third series appeared in June, 2014 on Mathematical Physics which continues to blow off minds of young physics enthusiasts. Towards the end of July 2014, NPTEL released a fourth series of lectures titled Topics in Nonlinear Dynamics. 
Balakrishnan has authored the book Elements of Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics (CRC Press 2008), and has co-authored the book Beyond the Crystalline State: An Emerging Perspective (Springer 1989). Preliminary drafts of a comprehensive book on Mathematical Physics based on his courses have been circulated, and the book will likely appear in print in 2012.
His wife, Radha Balakrishnan, is a theoretical physicist who works on nonlinear dynamics (in particular, solitons and integrable systems). His son, Hari Balakrishnan, is currently the Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science at MIT. His daughter, Hamsa Balakrishnan, is also on the faculty at MIT as an Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
- University Physics courses by Prof. Balakrishnan at IITM
- Core YouTube courses by Prof. Balakrishnan in Classical and Quantum Physics
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