Kare Narain Pathak received BSc from Agra University, MSc from Allahabad University and PhD (1967) from IIT Kanpur. After a brief stint as Lecturer at IIT Bombay, he was postdoctoral fellow (1967-70) at National Research Council, Canada and NorthWestern University, Evanston. Thereafter, he was Reader (1970-77) and Professor (1977-2001) in the Department of Physics, Punjab University, Chandigarh. He was Associate-Member/Senior-Associate-Member at Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (1972-77, 1992-98); Visiting Professor, NorthWestern University (1979); Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Senior Fellow, Technical University, Munchen, (1977-79), and Visiting Professor, Lake Head University, Canada (1983-91) (intermittently), Freie University, Berlin (2006-08), etc. He also worked as Head, Department of Physics (1989-92), Dean, University Instructions (1993-95), Dean, Faculty of Science (1996-99), and Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University (2000-06).
Academic and Research Achievements: Pathak has made extensive contributions to the dynamical structure of liquids and kinetics that follows from the study of the dynamical correlations and response functions in classical and quantum liquids. He also worked on liquid state dynamics, electron correlations in Coulomb fluids and phonon-phonon interaction in solids. Exact results for the dynamical correlation functions of dynamical variables were obtained which are useful in understanding dynamical and transport properties of fluids (DTP). His work explained the experimental data about the collective motion in liquids. The demonstration of two relaxation times is a general characteristic of liquid state, in agreement with neutron scattering experiments. His binary cluster theory of dynamics of fluids, where two-particle collisions of all orders have been summed up, provides the DTP of fluids using only temperature, density and inter-atom potential. The theory being exact in a given time-space domain, provides the Enskog result for the transport coefficients in appropriate limit. His work on electron correlations predicts exact result for local-field factor in the limit of short wavelength. He developed an exact theory for interaction energy between positronium and metal surface by taking all atomic multipolar-excitations, and predicted the saturation of interaction energy to a constant value which is weaker than semi-classical results of Lifshitz. His theory of phonon-phonon interaction in solids provides for the first time both thermodynamic and dynamical properties in a self-consistent manner. He has mentored 12 PhD students.
Other Contributions: During his tenure as Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, he ensured its development for higher education by establishing National Centre for Human Genome Studies and Research, Centres for Studies related to Defence and also Environmental Science and Waste Management, University Institute of Engineering and Technology, and a dental college etc. He initiated many new teaching programmes in the University and its affiliated colleges. He has been Member of various national committees, Governing bodies/councils of Nuclear Science Center, New Delhi, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. At present, Member of Academic Council of Central Universties of Karnataka and Punjab and Governing body CLCR, Bangalore.
Awards and Honours: Professor Pathak was conferred the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Fellowship Award (1977), National Lecturer Award by UGC (1986-87), National Fellowship Award by UGC (1991), Meghnad Saha Award by UGC (1996), and Goyal Prize for Physics by Kurukshetra University (2001). He was elected Fellow of the Punjab Academy of Sciences (2001), Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1992), and National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1983).