(Prof. R. Balasubramaniam)
(The following info was provided by Pradeep Haldar. Email: email@example.com)
It is with great sorrow we report that Prof. R. Balasubramaniam (BHU-IT Metallurgy 1984 batch) left for his heavenly abode on 9th December morning at 2:20 AM. He was suffering from cancer for last 6 months. Lately, he had breathlessness problem for last one week and the end came due to hypoxia. He was 48 years old.
His ashes were offered to Holy Ganges in Varanasi on 11th December.
(The following sad note is posted on IIT Kanpur website.)
Professor Ramamurthy Balasubramaniam
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Professor Ramamurthy Balasubramaniam (fondly known as ‘Bala’) was born on 15 April 1961 in Salem, Tamil Nadu. He obtained his Bachelor of Technology (Gold medalist) in Metallurgical Engineering from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. For all round performance as an undergraduate student, he was awarded Gandhy Gold medal from Department of Metallurgical Engineering, BHU as well as Vishwa Bharathi Award from the Indian Institute of Metals, both in 1984. He then proceeded to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy (RPI), USA and obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Engineering in 1990. After spending a brief stint as an Adjunct faculty at RPI, he joined the faculty of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at IIT Kanpur on 2nd April 1990 and became Professor on 13th December 2001.
Professor Balasubramaniam's research interests included Material-Hydrogen Systems, Environmental Degradation of Materials, Structure-Property Correlation in Advanced Materials and Indian Archaeometallurgy. Professor Balasubramaniam was a prolific researcher and has published more than 250 research papers in refereed journals of repute. He has published 10 books. Two of his recent books, which dealt Indian Archaeometallurgy are on "The Saga of Indian Cannons" and 'Story of Delhi Iron Pillar". His research on the corrosion resistance of Delhi’s iron pillar attracted worldwide attention. He also adopted the text book of Materials Science, written by Callister. One of his most recent research projects was his work on Corrosion Prevention of Rails under the Technology Mission on Railway Safety.
In recognition to his outstanding contribution as an active researcher in the field of Metallurgy, Materials Science and Archaeometallurgy, Dr. Balasubramaniam received a number of prestigious awards, including Young scientist award (1993), Indian National Science Academy, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship (1996), Materials Research Society of India (MRSI) Medal (1999), Metallurgist of the Year award (1999), Ministry of Steels and Mines, Government of India. He was a member of the National Commission for History of Science. He was an editorial member of a number of international journals in the area of corrosion and Archeometallurgy. He was one of the finest teachers and recently received the inaugural Distinguished Educator Award (2009) from Indian Institute of Metals (IIM). Prof. Balasubramaniam was bestowed with B B Lal Chair Professor at IIT Kanpur in September 2009. Dr. Balasubramaniam was a life member of Indian Institute of Metals.
Apart from Academics, Dr. Balasubramaniam was an enthusiastic sportsperson with a passion for cricket. He also had a great passion, both for Indian and Western music, right from his student days in BHU. Professor Balasubramaniam’s illustrious career was cut short by his untimely demise on December 9, 2009 at 2:20 am. He is survived by his wife Dr. Gaitri Saini Balasubramaniam and two daughters, Gowri and Gargi. The entire community of IIT Kanpur, his friends and professional colleagues wish that his departed soul may rest in peace.
In this hour of grief, we join the family members of Professor R Balasubramaniam in praying that his soul may rest in peace.
Department of Metallurgical Engineering, IT-BHU, Varanasi.
(Forwarded by Prof. N. K. Mukhopadhyay, Dept. of Metallurgical Engineering)
We had a condolence meeting on 11th December at 11: 15 AM along with the family members of Bala. We had recollected our reminiscences, paid our homage to Bala. Bala' wife, two daughters and two brothers came to Varanasi to immerse the holy ashes in the Ganges on the morning of 11th December. We passed on the condolence message to Bala's wife. She was quite satisfied visiting Varanasi and the Department of which Bala was so fond of.
Dated: 11 December 2009
The BHU-Met family is deeply shocked to learn the tragic and sudden demise of one of its illustrious alumnus, Professor Ramamurthy Balasubramaniam on December 9, 2009 at 2.20 a.m. at his residence in IIT – Kanpur.
Prof R. Balasubramaniam (fondly known as ‘Bala’) was born on April 15, 1961 in Salem, Tamil Nadu. He graduated as Bachelor of Technology in Metallurgical Engineering from the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University in 1984 with First Rank and also won the coveted ‘Gandhi Medal’ in that year as best all-rounder. He then proceeded to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, USA for obtaining his Ph.D. Degree in Materials Engineering in 1990. He soon returned to home country to join the Faculty of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT-Kanpur in April, 1990 where he rose to the position of B.B. Lal Chair Professor before he breathed his last.
Prof. Balasubramaniam had a brilliant research career and made lasting contributions to the field of Metallurgical Engineering by way of 250 research papers in reputed journals and 10 books. Noteworthy amongst those are his two recent books “The Saga of Indian Cannons’ and “Story of Delhi Iron Pillar” which attracted worldwide attention.
In recognition of his meritorious performance, he received a number of awards and distinctions. Prestigious amongst these are: Young Scientist Award of INSA (1993), Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1996), Materials Research Society of India (MRSI) Medal (1999) and Metallurgist of the Year Award of Ministry of Steel and Mines, Government of India (1999) and most recently (the first to receive) the Distinguished Educator Award of IIM (2009).
Besides for academics, Bala is widely remembered on the campus of the Banaras Hindu University for outstanding performance on percussion instruments during ‘Kashi Yatra’ and other cultural festivals.
He is survived by his wife Dr. Gaitri Saini Balasubramaniam and two daughters, Gowri and Gargi. The BHU-Met family deeply mourns his untimely demise and prays the almighty to give all the strength to bear this irretrievable loss.
The BHU-Met family
Thursday, 10 Dec 2009
Noted metallurgist Dr Bala passes away
With great sorrow, we inform our readers sad demise of a globally renowned metallurgist Dr R Balasubramanian, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 48 at Kanpur. Dr Bala leaves behind his wife Dr Gyatri Saini Balasubramanian and two daughters.
Dr Bala was a professor at the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at IIT Kanpur. He completed B Tech in Metallurgy from IT BHU in 1984 with gold medal and later earned Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy NY in US in 1990.
Dr Bala was an avid musician also. His professional profile and achievements can be viewed at http://www.iitk.ac.in/mme/rbala/index.htm
Fondly known as Corrosion Guru, Dr Bala had unraveled the mystery of the 1,600 year old iron pillar of Kutub Minar, which has not corroded since it was built. To read the article “Looking into Past for Materials of Future” please visit
To us Dr Bala was more than a friend and we would miss his invaluable input.
Tribute by Yogesh Upadhyaya (Chemical 1977)
It is extremely sad to know the untimely demise of Prof. Bala.
I had known him well for past couple of years through phone conversations and through email exchange. Being humble, he wanted to address him as just "Bala." He was instrumental in organizing Metallo seminar (a huge task) at IIT-Kanpur and persuaded me to conduct interview with Prof. TRA in chronicle. He also picked up the work of discovering the marvels of the Iron Pillar at New Delhi, the work left by Prof. TRA. He visited hundreds of ancient sites to find out more about history and development of metallurgy in ancient India. It requires higher level of selflessness to pursue such non-exotic field with a missionary zeal.
I was hoping to see him during Dec 25-27 reunion of class of 84 at our campus. Now the reunion will be conducted with a sad note, as he was one of the prime movers for the 1984 batch reunion. He had a passion for perfection as he would change draft for chronicle article about him several times till he satisfied himself.
May his soul rest in peace.
For chronicle team
His interview was published in chronicle November 2007 issue:
Tribute by Prof. T. A. Abinandanan (Metallurgy 1985)
Bala was a year senior to us in our Department, so we knew him (and adored him and awed by him). He was a giant in our lives then -- so energetic, so full of life and so ... driven.
Then our paths drifted when we went to grad school, until we found ourselves in Indian academia, which brought us together at many events. While we didn't work in the same area, I was always aware of his work -- primarily because of its popular science component.
Over the past several months, we were following -- through colleagues and mutual friends who were close friends of Bala's -- his fight with cancer. Distressingly, it was a fight that he couldn't win.
Sad. Very sad.
T. A. Abinandanan, Professor of Materials Engineering
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012 India.
Materialia Indica: http://materialiaindica.ning.com/profile/abi
Personal blog: http://nanopolitan.blogspot.com
Tribute by Lalchand Gopalani (Metallurgy 1981)
Very very sad news.
He was a shining star of Metallurgy and by his papers he had brought laurels to the Metallurgy Department of IT-BHU. People like Prof Balasubramaniam are the people who by their work make their Institute proud and it is people like Prof. Balasubramaniam that IT-BHU is held in high esteem. His work on Iron pillar of Delhi was a classic work of research and this work was extensively quoted and referred. The loss is not only for his family, but country has lost a brilliant Metallurgy professor, who would have nurtured whole generation of students.
May his soul rest in peace and May god give his family all the strength at this hour.
Tribute by K Srikrishna (Metallurgy 1984)
Bala, who was not only MET topper, but a great cultural contributor not just in our days at IT-BHU, but even as a faculty member at Kanpur, held a special place in the hearts of all metallurgy folks.
In our fourth year I recall Bala staying up to study till 2AM and then waking me up to give me his notes before going to bed. I'd in turn wake him back up at 5AM for him to hit the books again. Haldar, most likely amongst us, who interacted with him most recently in person a couple of years ago when he was in the US. Earlier this year, in January through March Bala was very active in planning for the reunion and being anxious as late as May 2009 whether we'd have sufficient response. It was only a month or two ago, when I spoke to him on the phone, that he shared that he had had cancer of the jaw and been treated for the same and might not make it to the reunion due to some follow up treatment in Chennai.
However these last four weeks he seems to have worsened and the end came today. It is hard to express the emotions I have gone through as will others who knew Bala. Harder still that he has kids (two girls, aged 14 and 10 (same as my own girls) who along with his wife had planned back in March to make it to the reunion. Others such as Nishith Sharma and Rajesh Prasad at IIT Delhi I am sure have been in more frequent contact with Bala and can add to our memories.
It is hard to understand, certainly for me, the way God works sometimes but join me in praying for his family and his departed soul.
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Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221005, UP