|Savitribai Phule Pune University||All Models Are False, Some Are Useful|
I have met several people in my life but none were as unique as Padmakar Panat. He possessed character which distinguished him from others. My association with him stretches over 42 years which accounts for major parts of our respective lives. Our friendship was conspicuously diverse at different periods in time. I first came into contact with Panat when he was a graduate student and I was his teacher at IIT Kanpur. He was in my graduate course in classical mechanics. We were then not exactly friends but somewhat adversaries looking at each other over the fence trying to evaluate each other. I was evaluating him in the role as his teacher and he was trying to appraise me if I was worthy of his friendship. But these adversarial roles changed rapidly in two ways. I realized that he was manifestly way above average student in his comprehension of classical mechanics. I developed a high opinion about his intellectual abilities. Panat was not only a good student but he was also the only Marathi graduate student in the class. We conversed in Marathi and he started visiting my house in the IIT campus. He participated and assumed the role of a junior member of my family. He assumed that role whenever I arranged social functions in my house. He was in charge of fire-works during Divali festivities. My son was then only three years old and he looked at Panat as his elder brother. Padmakar played an active role in arranging "Kojagiri" on the terrace of our house when a large number of Marathi people had been invited. These were pleasant memories that I will always retain.
I started active research with Panat for the last 25 years when I made a regular practice to leave Canada and spend summers with Panat in Pune. The fact that our friendship lasted for a quarter of a century indicated that we got on well with each other. During this time, we were research colleagues, a relationship which was that of equals and not of the teacher/student relationship that existed before. I enormously enjoyed working with Panat. I appreciated his intelligence and it was a pleasure to work with him. We talked Physics; we gossiped about everything that affected us over endless cups of tea. I will miss him for ever!
Professor Vireshwar V. Paranjape is an Emeritus Professor at the Physics Department of the Lakehead University, Canada.
February 28, 2009