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Indian-American physicist Mani Bhaumik donates $11 million to UCLA

Mani L. Bhaumik

Washington, July 1 (UITV)- An Indian-American physicist and philanthropist has donated USD 11 million to University of California to establish a center devoted to advancing knowledge of the basic law of nature, the largest in the history of both UCLA’s department of physics and astronomy and the UCLA Division of Physical Science.

As a result of the donation, the university will establish the Mani L. Bhaumik Institute of Theoretical Physics, which is intends to become a world-leading center for theoretical physics research and intellectual inquiry, the university said in a statement.

“I thank Mani Bhaumik for his philanthropic leadership and for believing in UCLA,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

The new institute will host visiting scholars, organize seminars and conferences for the academic community, and begin a public outreach program to teach the community about scientific advances made by UCLA physicists.

Bhaumik rose from poverty to become an eminent scientist who played a key role in developing the laser technology that paved the way fir Lasik eye surgery.

Studying under the renowned physicist Satyendra Bose, he earned a Master’s degree at the University of Calcutta. In 1958, Bhaumik became the first student to earn a doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

“It’s very difficult to raise fund for this area, because people don’t understand what theoretical physics do. But physics holds the answer to the most fundamental questions of our very existence. Imagine what could be solved right here at UCLA,” he said.

The Indian government awarded him the prestigious Padma Shri for distinguished service in science and engineering in 2011.