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Udupi Ra­machan­dra Rao (1932-2017)

Udupi Ra­machan­dra Rao, the grand old man of In­dian space pro­gramme, is no more. Mr Rao, 85, passed away in Bengaluru last month. Ac­tive al­most un­til his last days, Mr Rao had been to his of­fice in the Depart­ment of Space's An­tariksh Bha­van about three weeks ago. The cel­e­brated space sci­en­tist was the fourth chair­man of the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISRO) in its crit­i­cal, for­ma­tive years be­tween 1984 and 1994. ISRO cred­its him with es­tab­lish­ing the devel­op­ment of indige­nous satel­lite tech­nol­ogy and rock­ets, like ASLV and the PSLV.

Yash Pal (1926-2017)

Renowned sci­en­tist Yash Pal, 90, died in Noida last month. In the 1970s, as di­rec­tor of the Space Ap­pli­ca­tions Cen­tre, a wing of the ISRO, Mr Pal had put to­gether a team of young sci­en­tists from the TIFR to de­velop re­mote­sens­ing tech­nolo­gies. He be­gan his ca­reer as a pro­fes­sor at the TIFR and went on to hold sev­eral se­nior gov­ern­ment po­si­tions. A well-known sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tor, Mr Pal brought gal­ax­ies and cos­mic rays to liv­ing rooms across In­dia via Turn­ing Point, an ex­tremely pop­u­lar sci­ence show on Do­or­dar­shan.

Badri­narayan Ra­mu­lal Bar­wale (1931-2017)

Badri­narayan Ra­mu­lal Bar­wale, who turned Jalna, an other­wise-non­de­script district in Ma­ha­rash­tra, into the epi­cen­tre of the In­dian seeds in­dus­try, breathed his last in Mumbai last month. Mr Bar­wale, who was 86, founded In­dia's first pri­vate seed com­pany, Ma­ha­rash­tra Hy­brid Seeds Com­pany (Mahyco), in 1964 and re­mained its chair­man till his end. Widely re­garded as the fa­ther of the In­dian seeds in­dus­try, Mr Bar­wale played an im­por­tant role in bring­ing Bt cot­ton into the coun­try in 2002 with Mahyco form­ing a 50:50 ven­ture with US-based Mon­santo In­vest­ments.

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