M. G. K. Menon

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M. G. K. Menon

Prof M G K Menon.jpg
Mambillikalathil Govind Kumar Menon

(1928-08-28)28 August 1928
Died22 November 2016(2016-11-22) (aged 88)
Alma materUniversity of Mumbai
University of Bristol
Known forKGF Experiments (Particle experiments at Kolar Gold Fields)
Scientific career
InstitutionsTata Institute of Fundamental Research
Indian Space Research Organisation
Department of Science & Technology, Government of India
Doctoral advisorCecil F. Powell
M. G. K. Menon
Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation
In office
January 1972 – September 1972
Preceded byVikram Sarabhai
Succeeded bySatish Dhawan

Mambillikalathil Govind Kumar Menon FRS[1] (28 August 1928 – 22 November 2016)[2] also known as M. G. K. Menon, was a physicist and policy maker from India. He had a prominent role in the development of science and technology in India over four decades. One of his most important contributions was nurturing the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, which his mentor Homi J. Bhabha founded in 1945.

Born in Mangalore, he attended the University of Bristol for his PhD in elementary particle physics under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Cecil F. Powell. He joined the TIFR in 1955.

He undertook experiments with cosmic rays to explore the properties of fundamental particles. He was actively involved in setting up balloon flight experiments, as well as deep underground experiments with cosmic ray neutrinos in the mines at Kolar Gold Fields. He was the President of the Indian Statistical Institute,[3] the Vikram Sarabhai Fellow of the Indian Space Research Organisation, President of the National Academy of Sciences, India, Director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (1966–1975), Chairman Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and chairman Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad.

He won the Abdus Salam Award, and was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He was one of the most prominent scientists from the state of Kerala and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1970.[4] The asteroid 7564 Gokumenon was named in his honour in late 2008.

Early life and education[edit]

M. G. K. Menon was educated at Jaswant College, Jodhpur, and the Royal Institute of Science, Bombay, before he moved to the University of Bristol for his PhD in elementary particle physics under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Cecil F. Powell in 1953.[5]


He joined TIFR in 1955 "essentially because of Bhabha", and the association lasted nearly five decades. He became the director of the institute in 1966, at the age of 38, following Bhabha's untimely death. In fact, M. G. K. Menon began handling the affairs of the institute ever since he was 33, because of Bhabha's increasing involvement with the country's nascent atomic energy programme.[6]

M.G.K. Menon was the chairman of ISRO in 1972.[2] He was a member of the Planning Commission (1982–1989), Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister (1986–1989) and Vice-President, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) (1989–1990). He was elected as a member of parliament (Rajya Sabha) during 1990–96. Then V.P. Singh appointed him as the minister of state for science and technology and education. (1989).[7]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ Cowsik, Ramanath (2021). "Mambillikalathil Govind Kumar Menon. 28 August 1928—22 November 2016". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 71.
  2. ^ a b "Acclaimed physicist and ex-ISRO chief Prof MGK Menon dies at 88". Hindustan Times. 22 November 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Council of the Indian Statistical Institute". Archived from the original on 7 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  5. ^ "The master conductor". frontline.in. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  6. ^ "The master conductor". frontline.in. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Former ISRO chief MGK Menon passes away". The Times of India. 22 November 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Padma Awards | Interactive Dashboard". www.dashboard-padmaawards.gov.in. Retrieved 4 September 2020.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by ISRO chairman
Jan 1972 – Sept 1972
Succeeded by