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Prof. P. R. Pisharoty

Pisharoth Rama Pisharoty (Malayalam: പിഷാരത്ത് രാമ പിഷാരടി;February 10, 1909 - September 24, 2002) was an Indian physicist and meteorologist, and is considered to be the father of remote sensing in India.

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Early life and education

P. R. Pisharoty was born on February 10, 1909 in the town of Kollengode in the Indian state of Kerala.His parents were Sivaramakrishnan alias Gopala Vadhyar and Lakshmi Pisharassiar. He had two brothers: Balakrishnan and Rajagopal, and three half brothers: Vaidyanathan, Rose Vadhyar and Gopalakrishnan. He completed his early education in Kerala. Having done his Physics BA honours from St. Joseph's College, Trichinopoly, Madras state, he went on to do his MA (Physics) from Madras University. He then worked as a college lecturer in Physics at Loyola College at Chennai during 1932-1941. During the summer vacations he used to work under Prof. C. V. Raman at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. On the recommendation of Raman, Pisharoty joined the India Meteorological Department in 1942, where he carried out research on thunderstorms, western disturbances, movement of monsoon depressions, orographic rain, etc. He then joined the University of California for further studies where he worked under meteorologist Jacob Bjerknes. His published two reports titled Some aspects of geostrophic poleward sensible heat and The kinetic energy of the atmosphere. He obtained his MS (in Meteorology) and PhD degrees by 1954.

Work in Indian remote sensing programme

On returning to India, Pisharoty became the Director of Colaba and Alibag Magnetic Observatories in 1959 and Founder Director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune in 1962. In 1967 he retired as Director of the Institute of Tropical Meteorology and joined the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad as a senior professor at the invitation of Vikram Sarabhai. At this point he was entrusted with the job of introducing remote sensing technology to India. He accepted the job. His pioneering experiment of detection of coconut wilt-root disease using Soviet aircraft and US equipment was considered to be the first success in remote sensing in India.

Positions held

Pisharoty served as the Director, Remote Sensing and Satellite Meteorology, at ISRO Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad during 1972-75. He was a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of World Meteorological Organization from 1963 to 1968 and later its Chairman. He also served as the Vice-President of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, and as a member of Joint Organising Committee for Global Atmospheric Research Programme from 1969 to 1977. He worked at PRL until the early nineties when he retired for health reasons.

Awards

Pisharoty was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1957 and a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy in 1978. In recognition of his contributions, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri national civilian award of the Indian government in 1970. He was the first recipient of the Raman Centenary Medal in 1988. He was awarded the IMO Prize by the WMO in 1989. He also received the K. R. Ramanathan Medal established by Indian National Science Academy in 1990.[1]

Death and legacy

Pisharoty died on the morning of September 24, 2002 at Pune, at the age of 93. The Indian Society of Remote Sensing renamed the Indian National Remote Sensing Award to 'P. R. Pisharoty Memorial Award' in his memory.

References

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