Mustansir Barma did his undergraduate studies at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and doctoral work at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. After post-doctoral work at Michigan State University, East Lansing, he joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai in 1976. He has been there ever since, except for sabbatical visits to Cornell University (1982-84) and the University of Oxford (1991-92). Professor Barma was the Chairman of the Department of Theoretical Physics (2004-07) Since 2007, he is the Director of TIFR.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Barma's research is in the fields of Statistical Physics and Condensed Matter Physics. His early work on spin models of magnetism focused on low-temperature properties and on phase transitions and critical point phenomena, while his research on percolation networks was concerned with the effect of frozen-in randomness on disordered magnets and on transport through a badly connected medium. He also worked on finite size effects in Fermi systems, and their influence on the resonant response to electromagnetic radiation. He has been working on the dynamics of deposition and evaporation of bunches of particles, phase transitions in aggregation-fragmentation systems, and on new types of phases which arise when a system of interacting particles is subjected to a randomly fluctuating potential. His recent interest is in the cooperative aspects of statistical systems driven far from equilibrium.
Other Contributions: Professor Barma served as a member of the IUPAP C3 Commission of Statistical Physics (1999-2002), and then as Chairman of the Commission (2002-05). He has organized conferences, workshops and schools, both in India and abroad.
Awards and Honours: Professor Barma was honoured with the INSA Medal for Young Scientist Award (1980), SS Bhatnagar Prize (1995), DAE Raja Ramanna Prize in Physics (2004) and SN Bose Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress Association (2007). He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).