Mahendra Singh Sodha received his MSc (1951) and DPhil (1955) degrees from Allahabad University. From 1953 onwards he worked as Junior Scientist at the Defence Science Laboratory, New Delhi (1953-56) and was postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia (1956-58) and Senior Scientist at Armour Research Foundation, Chicago (1958-61), Senior Scientist and Chief of Space Physics (1961-64) at Republic Aviation Co., New York, Professor/Dean/HOD/Deputy Director at IIT Delhi (1964-92), Vice Chancellor, Devi Ahilya University (1988-92), Lucknow University (1992-95) and Barkatulla University (1998-2000); and continuing as Visiting Professor at Lucknow University. He was also Visiting Professor at Drexel University and held Visiting positions abroad and served as Consultant to many national and international organizations.
Academic and Research Achievements: Sodha pioneered research in a number of contemporary areas in physics and energy studies (planning, conservation, modeling and renewable energy utilization). His outstanding contributions in plasma physics relate to nonlinear interaction of electromagnetic waves with plasmas. His review on colloidal (dusty) plasmas has been extensively referred to. His work in optics is of a pioneering nature; his paper on quantitative theory of image formation in layered media has numerous applications. His application of Akhamanov's formulation to optical waveguides was also very novel. His book on Microwave Propagation in Ferrites was the first on the subject and received wide attention. He also co-authored books on Solar Drying, Solar Distillation and Solar Passive and co-edited a four volume series on Reviews of Renewable Energy Resources. He has guided 69 students for PhD in the field of energy.
Other Contributions: At IIT Delhi, Professor Sodha was responsible for establishing the Centre of Energy Studies and Research, Opto-Electronics Group and Plasma Physics Group. As Vice Chancellor at DAVV and Lucknow he established self financing as an effective option for academic excellence, development and financial growth.
Awards and Honours: Professor Sodha was conferred many awards, notably: SS Bhatnagar Award (1974), Hari Om Prerit SS Bhatnagar Award for Desalination of Water by CSIR (1978); Pioneer in Renewable Energy Award by World Renewable Energy Network and UNESCO (2002); Padamashri (2003); and Dr KS Rao Memorial National Award for Lifetime Achievement in Renewable Energy by SESI (2004). He was elected President of the Plasma Science Society of India and Optical Society of India.