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George Sudarshan


Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan (September 16, 1931, Pallam, in Kottayam district of Kerala, India) is a prominent Indian American physicist, author, and professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sudarshan graduated with honors from the Madras Christian College in 1951. He did his master's at the University of Madras, India, in 1952. In 1958, he received his Ph. D. from the University of Rochester, New York.


Sudarshan's most significant work might be his contribution to the field of quantum optics. His theorem proves the equivalence of classical wave optics to quantum optics. The theorem makes use of the Sudarshan-Glauber representation. This representation also predicts optical effects that are purely quantum, and cannot be explained classically.

Sudarshan has made significant contributions to many other fields of physics. He was the first to propose the existence of tachyons, particles that travel faster than light. He developed formalism called dynamical maps that is one of the most fundamental formalism to study the theory of open quantum system. He, in collaboration with Baidyanaith Misra, also proposed the quantum Zeno effect.

He has taught at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), University of Rochester, Syracuse University, and Harvard. From 1969 onwards, he has been a Professor of Physics at the University of Texas, Austin and a Senior Professor at the Indian Institute of Science.He worked as the Director of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai, India for five years during the 1980s dividing his time between India and USA. During his tenure, he transformed it into a centre of excellence. He also met and held many discussions with philosopher J Krishnamurti.

His areas of interest include elementary particle physics, quantum optics, quantum information, quantum field theory, gauge field theories, classical mechanics and foundations of physics. He is also deeply interested in Vedanta, on which he lectures frequently.

There was a controversy involving Sudarshan and the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2005. Several physicists wrote a letter to the Swedish Academy, protesting that Sudarshan should have been awarded a share of the Prize for the Sudarshan-Glauber representation (or Sudarshan diagonal representation) in quantum optics, for which Roy J. Glauber won his share of the the prize. Because the terms of Alfred Nobel's will restrict the number of Nobel Prize winners to three in a given year, the Nobel Committee has often been criticized for allegedly ignoring scientists who did seminal work on a topic while awarding a prize to other scientists for the same topic.

In 2007, Sudarshan was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India, the highest civilian award after the Bharat Ratna. For the first time, Sudarshan himself has broken his silence over the Nobel controversy. Speaking to HT, he expressed frustration at the way Indians are ignored for top science honours HT. Speaking to the Indian daily Hindustan Times, he said, "The 2005 Nobel prize for Physics was awarded for my work, but I wasn't the one to get it. Each one of the discoveries that the Nobel was given for were based on my research,". About having been denied the Nobel in 1979 as well, Sudarshan said, "Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Glashow and Abdus Salam built on work I had done as a 26-year-old student. If you give a prize for a building, shouldn't the fellow who built the first floor be given the prize before those who built the second floor?"

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