George Sudarshan

George Sudarshan

Famous American theoretical physicist of Indian origin
Date of Birth: 16.09.1931
Country: USA

Biography of George Sudarshan

George Sudarshan, a renowned American theoretical physicist of Indian origin, was born in the small village of Pallam in southern India. He received his secondary education at Church Mission Society College and graduated from Christian College in Madras in 1951. In 1952, Sudarshan obtained his master's degree from Madras University. He then joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), where he worked under the guidance of Homi Jehangir Bhabha for a short period of time.

Sudarshan later moved to New York and enrolled at the University of Rochester, where he was mentored by Robert Marshak. In 1958, he earned his Ph.D. from the same university. Sudarshan made significant contributions to several areas of theoretical physics. Together with Marshak, he developed the V-A theory of weak interaction, which was later rediscovered by Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann, ultimately leading to the development of the electroweak theory. Feynman once said, "The V-A theory was discovered by Sudarshan and Marshak, and published by Feynman and Gell-Mann."

Sudarshan also developed the concept of quantum representation of coherent radiation. Roy Glauber was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005 for similar work in this area. Overall, Sudarshan's greatest contribution was in the field of quantum optics, where he formulated the equivalence theorems for classical and quantum optics, as well as theorems for strictly quantum optical phenomena. He was the first to propose the existence of tachyons, particles that travel faster than the speed of light. Additionally, he collaborated with Baidyanath Misra to bring the quantum Zeno effect into prominence.

Sudarshan taught at TIFR, the University of Rochester, Syracuse University, and Harvard. Since 1969, he has been a professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a senior professor at the Indian Institute of Science. In the 1980s, he served as the director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, India, for five years while continuing his scientific work in the United States. The scientist had several discussions with the renowned philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti on various topics. In addition to physics, Sudarshan also studied Vedanta, one of the schools of Hindu philosophy.

Despite his significant contributions, Sudarshan's scientific work has been overlooked by the Nobel Committee, with other scientists being awarded the Nobel Prize for similar research. This was evident in 2005 when several physicists wrote a letter to the Swedish Academy, stating that Sudarshan should have been honored alongside Glauber for their work in quantum optics (known as the Sudarshan-Glauber representation). The Nobel Committee has frequently faced criticism for ignoring the work of certain scientists and awarding others for the same scientific breakthroughs.

Sudarshan expressed his disappointment with the committee's decision in an interview with the Hindustan Times, stating, "The Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 2005 was awarded for my work, but I was not among those who received it. Each of the discoveries that earned the prize was based on my research. [...] The irony is that even with all these facts available in print, the diagonal representation is called either the P-representation (as if Glauber discovered it first) or, at best, as the Glauber-Sudarshan representation." He also pointed out that in 1979, the Nobel Committee overlooked his work: "Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Glashow, and Abdus Salam built on work that I had done when I was just a 26-year-old student. If you give a prize for a building, isn't it logical to first honor the one who built the first floor, and then those who built the second floor?"