A Tribute to (Late) Dr. Adhikarimayum Surjalal Sharma
- 8th January, 2024 :: Department of Physics, Manipur University -


 A Tribute to (Late) Dr. Adhikarimayum Surjalal Sharma
A Tribute to (Late) Dr. Adhikarimayum Surjalal Sharma

Prof. Adhikarimayum Surjalal Sharma of the Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, USA, passed away at his residence in USA on Friday, 5th of January, 2024 at 6.30 am (American time zone) due to an ailment. Dr. Sharma is survived by his wife Dilly, and two sons Khagemba and Tongku.

The Department of Physics, Manipur University organized a ‘Condolence Meeting’ at the conference Hall of the department on Monday, 8th January, 2024 at 10 am and observed a two-minute silence in honour of the departed soul.

Adhikarimayum Surjalal Sharma was born on 15 July,1948 at Brahmapur Aribam Leikai, Imphal, Manipur. He was the youngest son of three brothers and three sisters. His parents were A. Amuba Sharma and Sanatombi Devi.

After having his primary education from a nearby local school, he was admitted in class IX of All India Higher Secondary Course (three years) under CBSE, New Delhi, from Johnstone Higher Secondary School, Imphal.

He completed XI class in 1967 and also got in the same year, National Science Talent Search Examination (NSTSE) conducted by NCERT, New Delhi. He earned his B.Sc. Physics (Hons) and M.Sc. in Physics from University of Delhi, Delhi, and his Ph.D. in Physics from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) – Gujarat University, Ahmedabad.

After obtaining his Ph.D. degree, he held visiting positions at Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste, Italy), Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (Garching, Germany), Ruhr University (Bochum, Germany) and UKAEA Culham Science Centre (Abingdon, UK) before moving to Cornell University (Ithaca, USA) as a research associate.

Later he joined as a faculty member at the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar, and took a leading role in the scientific and technical design team for ADITYA, the first indigenous Tokamak of India. In 1987 he moved to the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, USA, where he was teaching Astrophysics and serving as the Director of Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute till his last moment.

As a theoretical physicist, specializing in theory, modeling and simulation, Prof. Sharma was engaged in trans-disciplinary research. He contributed to themes at the interface of physics and complex systems, including modeling and prediction of space weather, plasma physics, and multiscale phenomena.

He led the research in early 1990’s on the data-driven modeling of geospace in the nonlinear dynamical system framework, leading to the first prediction of space weather. He had been very active in mentoring students from high school to doctoral level (12 Ph.D., 3 Master’s, 25 undergraduate and 12 high school students).

Prof. Sharma was engaged in collaborations in research and education in the international physics community, in particular in the North East India. He had organized in India two Chapman Conferences, the prestigious international conference sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

He was in the core group that established the AGU Nonlinear Geophysics Focus Group and served as its Vice-Chair and Chair during 2002-2008. He was instrumental in establishing AGU Turcotte Award for the best PhD dissertation in nonlinear geophysics. He had chaired various committees including the AGU Committee on International Participation and American Physical Society nominating committee for the Topical Group on Physics of Climate.

Prof. Sharma had received many honors and recognitions, including
National Science Talent Search Scholarship (1967-1976),
NASA Group Achievement Award (1998),
Distinguished Scientist Award, Manipur Association for the Promotion of Science (2008),
American Geophysical Union Lorenz Lecturer (2009),
B. P. Das Memorial Lecturer, Physics Academy of North East (2010),
University of Maryland Distinguished Research Scientist Prize (2011-Inaugural),
P. C. Mahanta Memorial Lecturer (Gauhati University, 2012),
K R Ramanathan Medal and Lecturer, Indian Geophysical Union (2013),
and Excellence in Mentoring Prize, University of Maryland (2014).

He was awarded the Fullbright – Nehru Fellowship, USA (2021-23).

Prof. Sharma had held visiting professorships at Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), Nagoya University (Nagoya), Institute for Plasma Research (Gandhinagar) and Honorary Visiting Faculty (Manipur University).

Recently he served as an invited panelist in 2020 VAIBHAV – Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik Summit, Govt. of India. He had been actively engaged in the Manipur diaspora in India and the USA for more than five decades. He was instrumental in founding of the North American Manipur Association (1992) and was the Chairman of its Board of Trustees.

Prof Sharma was a Foreign Fellow of the Indian Geophysical Union and Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was the founding Director of the Research Institute of Science and Technology (RIST), Imphal.

Compiled by
Prof. N. Nimai Singh
Research Institute of Science and Technology (RIST), Imphal

* This info was sent to by Ngangkham Nimai Singh who can be contacted at nimai03(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on January 09, 2024 .

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