श्री. हेमचंद्र प्रधान
EX-SENIOR PROFESSOR AND CENTRE DIRECTOR, HOMI BHABHA CENTRE FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION (HBCSE), TIFR
Prof. Pradhan (DoB. 30-06-1946) retired in July 2011 as Senior Professor and Centre Director at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. After retirement he was awarded the DAE Raja Ramanna Fellowship. During the fellowship tenure (2012-17) he taught at the UM-DAE Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences and continued R&D work at HBCSE.
After completing the doctorate in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1971) and post-doctoral fellowships at leading universities in North America (1971-1974), Pradhan returned to India to pursue his liking for teaching. He taught physics at institutions of University of Mumbai, before joining HBCSE in 1988. He played a leading role in all activities of HBCSE, in research and student talent nurture, as well as in teacher development, curricular and co-curricular material development, networking with educational institutions and science popularization.
Pradhan also led HBCSE’s programme of developing higher secondary laboratories which facilitated India’s participation in Olympiads, the prestigious international subject competitions at the pre-university stage. He was Chair (2008-2011) of the National Steering Committee which oversees the activities of Science and Astronomy Olympiads in the country. Pradhan has represented India as a teacher leader for several international Olympiads. He was the teacher leader of the 29 th International Physics Olympiad held in Iceland (1998), which was the first science Olympiad that India ever participated in. He was also the convener to several major national and international events in the field of science and mathematics education, hosted by HBCSE, including the 2010 Asian Science Camp, Mumbai.
Pradhan’s research is in the areas of nuclear physics, physics education, mathematics education and science education. He has published more than 60 research papers and authored, coauthored, translated or edited more than 40 books. An award winning author in Marathi, he has written more than 100 popular science articles and given more than 100 lectures and radio talks on science and education. He has contributed, as a co-author and editor, to textbooks and supporting material for National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU).
Actively associated with many national and state level organizations, Pradhan was the President of Indian Association of Physics Teachers from Jan 2013 to Dec 2019. He is also the Chair, Programme Advisory Committee of National Council of Science and Technology communication (NCSTC, DST, Govt of India), which oversees among other programmes, the annual National Children’s Science Congress. He was a member of the Maharashtra State Government Committees, Rajyabhasha Samiti and Vishwakosh (Encyclopedia) Nirmiti Mandal. Currently he is leading, for the Nirmiti Mandal, a project of development of a Junior Science Encyclopedia (Kumar Vishwakosh) on Biology and Environment. Three volumes of the Kumar Vishwakosh have already been published on the internet and two in book form. Active with Marathi Vidnyan Parishad he was its Vice President for eight years (2004-12) and Editor of their monthly journal for twelve years. He was invited to preside over the 54 th All India Convention of the Parishad held in Jan 2020 at Malgund, Dist. Ratnagiri. In August 2021 he was conferred honorary life-membership of the Parishad. Jointly with Dr. Vivek Patkar, he completed, for the Parishad, a major 450 page volume on the contribution of Maharashtra State to S & T during the last sixty years (1960-2020). Published by Granthali during the Diamond Jubilee Year (2020) of the state, the volume has been appreciated for its comprehensiveness and authenticity of content. He is a Fellow of the Maharashtra Academy of Sciences. In recognition of his contribution to science, science education and science communication in the state he was given the Goda Gaurav Puraskar 2022, a prestigious life-time achievement award given every alternate year by the Kusumagraj Foundation, Nashik.