In memoriam: Rahul Basu

Rahul Basu, colleague, friend and fellow blogger, passed away today after an illness of nearly three months. He was taken ill with respiratory problems in mid-December; after a period of hospitalisation he seemed to be making a recovery, but in late February he had a relapse from which he never recovered.

Rahul’s name will be familiar to readers of this blog, but those who knew him in real life will forever miss a truly unique character. Apart from his enthusiasm for physics (and science in general) and teaching, he had a wide range of interests and strong opinions. He also had the valuable ability to express himself forcefully without losing friends. The institute will feel substantially emptier without him. His large circle of friends will always feel his presence.

I had little scientific overlap with him, but always enjoyed his talks (especially on the Large Hadron Collider, for which his enthusiasm was palpable). Outside of research, however, we have discussed nearly every topic under the sun — usually animatedly, always enjoyably.

He is survived by his wife Neelima Gupte, physicist at IIT Madras. Her area of research is just a little more up my street, and she is as familiar as he to the physics community in India (and elsewhere). While nothing can repair the loss, she can count on the support of many, many friends and well-wishers.

UPDATE, March 7: An official memorial page is now up. Friends of Rahul are requested to leave their comments there.

Leave a comment


  1. Dear Rahul Sid,

    I was shocked to see that Rahul Basu has passed away. I first knew about him when he came to Pune University Physics Department where Dr. Neelima Gupte was a faculty before she moved to IITM. I was a M.Sc student there at Pune.
    I enjoyed Rahul’s blog for the variety.

    With Regards

  2. Arun

     /  March 5, 2011

    Shocking news.

  3. Sanket

     /  March 5, 2011

    Shocked. We will miss a very good blogger.

  4. R.I.P.

    I knew of him through your blog and always enjoyed reading his comments and opinions. Sad news indeed.

    (Also touching to see his last post on Pachelbel’s Canon.)

  5. Rahul: there aren’t any real words to offer. My tribute is at:

  6. This is shocking, though I also only knew him through his comments on your blog.

  7. Rahul Siddharthan

     /  March 7, 2011

    Thank you all for the comments. It is indeed a big shock. I have now linked the official memorial page in the main post.

  1. Rahul Basu | nOnoScience

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