Poem
"George Sudarshan"
by V. V. Raman

 

 

V. V. Raman

 

Varadaraja Venkata Raman better known as V.V. Raman, was born May 28, 1932 in Calcutta, India. He was Emeritus Professor of Physics and Humanities at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

On the occasion of George Sudarshan's 75th birthday, Professor V. V. Raman came to the University of Texas to honor his friend and colleague. in addition to his speech honoring George, he wrote the poem quoted below.

George Sudarshan

We've come here on this happy day
For lots of talks and fun
To honor in a special way
Our friend George Sudarshan.

Who's this man, some may ask
Whom we honor thus?
Well, my friends, it‘s now my task
To tell you why this fuss.

A simple man is how he looks
With a twinkle in his eye
This author of some excellent books
Is modest and sometimes shy.

He’s written scores of articles
And treatises on physics
On elementary particles
And on quantum optics.

George was born in Kerala
The land of dance and beaches
From here came also Shankara
Who Vedanta teaches

This man who hails from Kottayam
Before he heard of Bohr or Bohm
First spoke the language MALAYALAM
Which is a palindrome.

Like that great Vedantic sage
George moved from his place of birth
And became of the modern age
A physicist of great worth.

When George was still a growing lad
He read the Bible whole
But science and math he also had
Where he was to play a role.

He was an undergraduate
To Mumbai next he went
from there To the TIFR great.

Here his genius really took
Off in different ways
From commenting on Von Neuman's book
To theories on cosmic rays.

In Mumbai he also chanced to see
Men like Paul Dirac
Tomonaga, Wolfgang Pauli
And of course Bob Marshak.

When Marshak George’s notes did see
He wanted both notes and him
But George in Bombay had to be
‘cause that was his boss's whim.

After a year or two when the Indian chief
Could him no longer pester
Sudarshan got his great relief
And went off to Rochester.

There he was a student bright
This was clear for all to see
His answers in tests were mostly right
So he got his Ph.D.

There were of his colleagues plenty
The (not Pole) Regge Tullio,
And the mass-formula celebrity
Well-known as Susumu Okubo.

From relations which were by Sudarshan shown
A new result would flow
Linked to the mass formula known
As that of Okubo.

He spent some years in Chennai where
In fifty-seven was the conference
With all the greats of the day
It was like a remembrance Of the Congress at Solvay.

Bethe, Lee, Oppenheimer
Yang and Murray Gell-Mann
Wu, Dyson, Julian Schwinger
Weisskopf, Salam and Feynman.

To the famous Rochester conference
With a paper Sudarshan came
Though the paper made a lot of sense
George hadn't yet made a name.

The insight in his thesis
On the interaction called weak
Was profound but on this
He couldn't at that meeting speak.

Others physicists of renown
Published a like result, they say
This is the famous theory known
As the interaction V minus A.

If Sudarshan's paper had first come
At that meeting of the physicists wise
He could have received, so say some
The coveted Nobel Prize.

"Elementary Particles" came out shortly
By Marshak and Sudarshan
A book that was rendered promptly
Into French, Russian, and German.

Of his lectures on Mechanics
Good notes Mukunda took
In the literature of physics
These became a solid book.

Sudarshan’s work was systematic
On SU-3 and their representation
He worked on functions analytic
And on their continuation.

Emil Wolf looked very sad.
George asked if he could something fix
With his partial coherence Wolf was mad
Whence George’s work in quantum optics.

In the spring of Nineteen-Eighty
He met Glashow and Edward Witten
And other physicists mighty
Who had major papers written.

Snow White had seven dwarfs, it says
Some birds have seven eggs in nests.
Every week has seven days
Sudarshan has his seven quests.

The seven quests he has been in
Are: weak interaction (this makes sense)
Statistics and of course spin
Quantum optical coherence.

Another relates to Einstein’s note
Naught faster than light can move on
To this Sudarshan and Bilaniuk wrote
A paper on the tachyon.

Baidhyanath Misra and Sudarshan showed
That an unstable quantum entity
Can stay for good if kept observed
They called this the Quantum ZP.

There is symmetry and invariance
In all of physics, that’s true.
But the physics of open systems
Is in quantum mechanics too.

He has written on quantum systems
And on the hot electron too
On Dirac brackets, abstract theorems
And on the dynamics of Nambu.

He's written on density matrices
On beta, not alpha decay
And on quantum optics
All his work can't be told today.

He has interesting things to tell
On the mysticism of Capra
He wrote a whole book to dispel
The field-theories of Chopra.

Sudarshan has taught in many places
From Syracuse to Austin, Texas
His students have a variety of faces
From all races and both sexes.

In the Math Institute in Madras
On the director's chair he sat.
‘Cause of misunderstandings crass
That was the end of that.

George led research institutes
He inspired students galore.
He was drawn into some disputes
But he did countless things more.

He has wanted as teacher and as student
To push the bounds of physics forward
This he did, wherever he went
Not just in the halls of Harvard.

Some seminal ideas of Sudarshan
Have sure influenced others
But his papers to explicitly mention
Not everyone always bothers.

When the full history is written some day
All this will be brought to light
And for sure in this way
The records will be set right.

No matter what theme Sudarshan takes
And at philosophers' meetings too
Witty comments he often makes
As few other thinkers do.

Lecturing gives him lots of kicks
He has many a subject taught
Also on matters beyond physics
He has often wisely thought.

He had friends like the Indic fighter
Agehananda Bharati
Raja Rao, the writer
And Jiddu Krishnamurti.

His friends include Feinberg
Mukunda, Marlan, Rothman
And of course Steven Weinberg
Hagen and V. V. Raman

With everyone he moves with ease
Mahesh Yogi was in his range
With Satya Sai he’s been at peace
Though some find this rather strange.

He has received many honors
In India and beyond
He has given many lectures
Of which all are fond.

He likes science fiction
And reads Castaneda even,
And some Malayalee writers
Like M. T. Vasudevan.

Besides books from Kerala
Sudarshan has read a lot
On Upanishads and Vedanta
And other aspects of Indic thought

He likes detective stories
Especially on TV
But few things he likes more
Than mushrooms in hot curry.

In his garden he is happy
With all the plants he’s got.
He is very glad to see them
And not himself, go to pot.

Many are certain his works deserve
Not one but two Nobel Prizes
But there’s doubt they this observe
In the Committee that advises.

But George forgets not the T-O-E
Taught by Shankaracharya
That everything we hear and see
Is a dream of the Cosmic Maya.

We celebrate George today
Who has had a life-long alliance
With India, the USA
And the whole world of Science.

Such is the man, simple and great
Who is here with his wife
Both of them we congratulate
And wish more joys in life!