Vinod Gaur studied Geophysics at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and at Imperial College, London (UK) where he discovered the hitherto unsuspected 'host rock effect' in geo-electromagnetics for which he was awarded PhD from the University of London in 1959. His academic career began, immediately thereafter, as a Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory, UK. In 1966, he joined the University of Roorkee as Professor where he initiated a modern academic programme in geophysics, incorporating signal analysis, inverse theory and computational geophysics. These were subsequently propagated by the UGC to other universities by sponsoring short- term intensive courses that were organized by Gaur at Roorkee. In 1983, he moved to Hyderabad as Director of the National Geophysical Research Institute and set about restructuring the Institute's research programmes with scientific rigour, guided by hypothesis formulation and experiment design.
Academic and Research Achievements: Gaur's landmark contributions to science include: Discovery and explanation of the host-rock effect in the electromagnetic response of subsurface geological conductors; Experimental confirmation of the hypothesis that the Indian plate under-thrusts the Asian plate @ ~ 1 cm /year along the Main Himalayan Fault, by direct measurement of slow deformation across a tunnel in the Tons valley, Uttaranchal; Discovery of the thick Deccan lithosphere using the first seismic tomography experiments in India; First quantitative measurement of the Indian plate velocity with respect to the Eurasian using Global Positioning System (GPS) Geodesy and an upper bound for the strain rate in the Southern Peninsula; First high resolution crustal images using broadband seismology of the south Indian shield and of north-eastern India; First Indian experiment to constrain global carbon fluxes, over India and Central Asia, through inversion of ultra-high precision atmospheric concentration data (0.1 ppm) generated at the WMO accredited CO2 laboratory established by him at the Indian Astronomical Observatory, Hanle, Ladakh.
Other Contributions: Gaur's other contributions towards advancing scientific endeavours include the design of modern Geophysics curricula (UGC, 1970s), restructuring of NGRI research programmes, design and writing of CBSE VIII and X class Science books (1990), design and implementation of Marine Satellite and Ocean Information Services, and modern Antarctic Research (1989-92) as Secretary to the Government of India, and the founding of a 'Science to People' programme in Hyderabad (1984). He has served on INSA Council (1985-87 and 1994-96).
Awards and Honours: Professor Gaur was honoured with lectureships, namely, GP Chatterji Memorial Lecture (1991) and DN Wadia Medal (2007) both of INSA. His other awards include the Bhatnagar Prize (1980), Flinn Award of the American Geophysical Union (2000) and Saha Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress (2006). Professor Gaur is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).