S. Pancharatnam

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Shivaramakrishnan Pancharatnam
Born(1934-02-09)9 February 1934[1]
Died28 May 1969(1969-05-28) (aged 35)[1]
Alma materNagpur University
Raman Research Institute[1]
Known forGeometric phase
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Mysore
Oxford University
Doctoral advisorC. V. Raman

Shivaramakrishnan Pancharatnam (1934–1969) was an Indian physicist who did significant work in the field of optics. He is noted for his discovery of a type of geometric phase sometimes known as Pancharatnam phase for polarized beams passing through crystals.[2] He was born in Calcutta in West Bengal, India in 1934.[1] He was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences at the early age of 25. He was a reader at the Department of studies in Physics, University of Mysore from 1961-1964.[3] From 1964 until his death in 1969 at the age of 35 he was a Research Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford, working in association with George William Series. His publications for this period were mainly concerned with the theory of effects found in experiments on optical pumping, e.g. double refraction in a gas due to spin alignment. Professor Series has written an introduction to the life and work of Pancharatnam. He also prepared, for the Proceedings of the Royal Society, the last three papers from notes left by Pancharatnam.[4]

In 1956, Pancharatnam was studying interference figures produced by light waves in crystal plates, under his advisor C. V. Raman, when he discovered the properties of what is now known as the geometric phase, and which predated Michael Berry's work on the topic from 1983.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Series, George W. (August 1994). "Foreword: S. Pancharatnam" (PDF). Current Science. 67 (4). Retrieved 16 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Anandan, Jeeva; Christian, Joy (1997). "Resource Letter GPP-1: Geometric Phases in Physics". American Journal of Physics. 65 (3): 180–185. arXiv:quant-ph/9702011. Bibcode:1997AmJPh..65..180A. doi:10.1119/1.18570.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Dodd, J. N. (1997). "George W Series Memorial Essays". Physica Scripta. 1997 (T70): 5. doi:10.1088/0031-8949/1997/T70/E02.
  5. ^ Berry, Michael (1994). "Pancharatnam, virtuoso of the Poincaré sphere" (PDF). Current Science. 67 (4).