Thiruvananthapuram: World-renowned physicist Rajendran Raja, who passed away Feb 15 at his home in Illinois in the US at the age of 68, was a simple person and one who loved Kerala culture, according to his family.
In a chat with IANS, his first cousin Sathy Varma said he was indeed the global face of their family and more importantly a man who loved the culture of Kerala, where he was born.
“After his preliminary education here, since his father was a professor of physics in a university in Nairobi, he studied in Africa and then later moved on to London and then joined the US-based Fermilab and has been there since 1975,” said Varma.
Raja played a significant role in the discovery of the top quark, an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter.
“It was two years back that when on a visit here, he was diagnosed with brain tumour and since then he was under treatment and that was the last time, I also met him,” recalled Varma.
According to her, he loved visiting temples while here, and his weakness was temple prasadams, and the cuisine of Kerala. He also used to practise yoga.
“He certainly was in the big league of the scientific community and used to arrange visits of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and other top scientists. We all used to be so proud of him as he used to work with two Nobel laureates. Despite his level of thinking which certainly was on a higher plane, he, to all of us, was a simple person and never had any airs,” said Varma.
Rajendran’s PhD is from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, England, and he became a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1973.
“All his immediate family members are there, which includes his German wife and their daughter besides his sister. The funeral will take place in Illinois Friday,” said Varma.