RIP SM Chitre: Some unknown facts about the renowned Indian astronomer

Professor Shashikumar Madhusudan Chitre, the Indian stalwart astrophysicist, died at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Mumbai on Monday. He was 84.

Here are some little known facts about the renowned Indian astronomer:

1. A stalwart of the Indian astronomy community, particularly solar physics, Professor Chitre was a recipient of Padma Bhushan in 2012.

2. In 2001, he retired as a Senior Lecturer from the Tata Institute for Basic Research in Mumbai. Professor Chitre was the main support behind the establishment of the University of Mumbai-Center of Excellence in Basic Sciences of the Department of Atomic Energy (UM-DAE CEBS) at Kalina University.

3. Professor Chitre served on the boards of the Nehru Center Trust and JN Tata Trust for many years. He was always passionate about science education and gave numerous lectures at schools and colleges. According to Arvind Paranjpye, the director of the institute, he was the voice behind the first-ever show at the iconic Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai.

4. Professor Chitre was an ex-president of the Astronomical Society of India and a member of various committees that have helped shape science policies in India.

5. The renowned astrophysicist and mathematician was a friend of British physicist Stephen Hawking.

6. Professor Chitre was a student at University of Cambridge since 1959. He did his PhD at the department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics between 1962 and 1963, when Hawking also did his Ph.D. at the department.