H C Verma, India’s Favourite Physics Professor, Retires Today After 38 Year Career

India’s best-loved Physics professor has hung up his lab coat.

H. C. Verma, whose two volume book Concepts of Physics is a staple for millions of students preparing for IIT examinations every year, has announced he’s retiring after a 38 year career. “Finally locked my IITK lab and submitted the keys to Office. End of 38 years of formal teaching and research,” he tweeted.

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H. C. Verma,  had spent most of his childhood in Patna (he calls himself a proud Bihari on Twitter), and didn’t do particularly well in school, struggling to even pass his exams. His biography says that he came into his own when he joined the Patna Science College, and he graduated with a degree in B.Sc in Physics.

Verma then joined IIT Kanpur for a M.Sc, and topped the course with a GPA of 9.9. He chose to remain at IIT Kanpur for his doctorate, receiving his PhD degree in less than three years. Verma then moved to Patna Science College as a lecturer in 1980, and it was there he produced his most famous work.

As a lecturer, Verma noticed that even top students in class were unable to appreciate and enjoy the concepts of physics. He realized that they problem lay in the textbook he was following — Fundamentals of Physics by Resnick and Halliday, a book he’d enjoyed during his MSc. Verma realized that rural students couldn’t connect with the book owing to  language and cultural differences. Over the next eight years, he wrote “Concepts of Physics”, which used simple language and interesting examples to make studying Physics fun. The book is still used by students preparing for the IIT entrance exam today.

Verma then moved to IIT Kanpur in 1994, where he taught many courses, guided M. Sc. and PhD students, authored a book called “Quantum Physics”, and pursued research in experimental nuclear physics.

Verma’s twitter account has been lying in obscurity all these years with only around a thousand followers, but it gives a glimpse into the life of the man. He regularly shares updates from NASA and ISRO, and seems to share lots of updates from Prime Minister Modi. He answers questions from students personally, and even admonishes trolls, asking them to use their talents for the betterment of the nation.

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He’s even made fun of Arvind Kejriwal.

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Twitter has been showering him with praise since the announcement of his retirement, with Indian engineers talking about his contributions to the study of physics.

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