Tuesday, April 8, 2014




you can just click over the picture to get it enlarged.


A Letter from Dr. Simon


Dear Fellow-Member of the American College Fraternity:

  Our dear Professor Riesz who contributed in no small, and critical,
measure to the building up of the American College of yonder years  has
been chosen to receive the prestigious INSA Teachers Award.
This is a truly *National* honor, for INSA is *the* Academy which
represents the Nation and its Science in *every* international forum.
I consider it as a great honor and recognition for the entire College as
an Institution, and not just for a specific Department thereof.

I am thankful to God that He gave me, as part of His Design,  and through
the opportunities I had at the College  both as a student  and as a member
of its yonder years Faculty, the privilege of playing  an ever-so-tiny
catalytic role in this great `missionary' getting this well-deserved
recognition at the highest National level, which has rightfully remained
his for the last forty years.

A special function to present this INSA Award to Dr Riesz has been
organized at and by my Institute at 3PM on Saturday the 12th April.  While
this is a public function, the attached PDF file is my personal  and
cordial invitation to everyone who has had something to do with the
American College and/or Dr Riesz at some stage or other.

INSA Awards are generically presented during the Annual Meeting of INSA
(which was this time in Lucknow, 26 - 28 December 2013). In view of the
multitude of dimensions that need be covered, the Awardee would get just
about 30 seconds on the dais. In view of Dr Riesz's extra distinction
INSA conceded to my suggestion that, as a very special case, the Award to
Dr Riesz be presented in a specially organized function at my Institute.
 It turned out that, for unexpected reasons, Prof HS Mani could not go to
Lucknow to receive his award, and since he lives in Chennai INSA has
suggested that his too be presented in the same function.

It is possible that some of you might not have had as much exposure
to Dr Riesz and his singular achievements as others. For this reason, I am
attaching the PDF file of the Nomination itself, to the
preparation of whose initial draft  both Prof V Srinivasan (of AC) and
Prof G Srinivasan (of RRI) made very significant contributions,
in the hope that a careful reading of the same would give you some feeling
for the quality and magnitude of his achievements.

Functions at my Institute are normally held on  week days. We have
organized this function over the week-end in the fond hope that the
Fraternity (alumni & well-wishers) would find it more convenient to make
to the function. Do come and experience what kind of a great human being,
a missionary-par-excellence, worked and walked in the blessed campus of
the American College of yonder years for thirty plus years!
 Dr Riesz will be delighted to see you at the function. I too will be

Sincerely yours,

Rajiah Simon
SERB Distinguished Fellow &
Senior Professor
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Chennai 600 113
Email: simon@imsc.res.in
Phone (direct): 044 - 22543120



 Richard P. Riesz

Nomination for INSA Teachers Award 2013
1. Name of the Nominee: RIESZ Richard Parrish
Surname First Name Middle Name
2. Date of Birth: 26 / 04 / 1928
dd mm yyyy
3. Nationality: Citizen of USA
4. Designation:
● Professor and Head of the Post Graduate Physics Department (19631988)
● The first Dean of Academic Affairs of the College (1978 81)
when the College
gained autonomous status in 1978.
● Chairman, Research & Development Committee of the College (19721981)
● Professor and Head, Department of Applied Science (19681993)
5. Institution: The American College (an Autonomous College affiliated to Madurai
Kamaraj University), Madurai, Tamilnadu
6. Address for Correspondence:
Dr. R. P. Riesz
1376 West Main Street, P.O Box 384
Tennessee TN 38578
Tel (O): NA
Tel (R): 001 931 277 5642
Mobile: NA
7. Details of Teaching Experience:
For a long time, Post Graduate education in Tamil Nadu was confined to Chennai
(Madras), and then Tiruchirapalli. It was extended to Madurai in 1960, with Madura
College becoming the first PG Centre. In 1963, Dr. R.P. Riesz came from the Bell
Telephone Laboratories in USA and founded the Post Graduate Physics Department
at American College. He was the Professor and Head of the PG Physics Department
from the year 1963 till his retirement in 1988. He taught a variety of subjects like
Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Optics, Electronics etc.
His main interest and emphasis was always in Laboratory work (Practical work &
Sl No. Topics / Subjects taught Institution Years taught
(yyyy to yyyy)
1 Classical Mechanics, The American College 1963 1988
2 Optics dodoPG
3 Electronics, digital & analog dodoPG
4 Fourier Optics do19721988
5 Laboratory work do19631993
8. Please provide as an attachment a brief writeup
(not exceeding 1000 words) which
in your opinion supports the Nominee’s eligibility for this award (highlight dedication to
teaching, motivational skills, evidence of innovative teaching methods/materials,
functioning as a role model and other qualities you wish to mention).
9. List of equipments designed and fabricated and/or papers published on education in
journals/magazines with state/national/international circulation.
The list is too long to be listed in its entirety. To mention a few:
● A glass high vacuum system, with rare gas handling facility.
● Many digital electronics modules for teaching the assembly of electronic
● A system for obtaining holograms
● A digital lock
● A set up with a powerful electromagnet to study magnetic properties of
● Computer interfacing of several experiments for fast data acquisition and
● The use of HeNe
lasers for optics experiments.
The results of experiments and projects were made freely available to other
Institutions. Several of these experiments were published in International and
National Journals (see attached CV).
10. Where relevant, indicate how Nominee’s research has helped in his/her teaching.
Riesz was an active researcher at Bell Labs, working at the frontiers of
semiconductor physics. After coming to Madurai his main research interest
centered on the methodology of Physics Education. With his deep insight, and
innovation that was necessary working under great constraint in a college, he
was able to raise the standard of teaching to international standards.
Hundreds of his students, are currently working in different laboratories and
institutions all over the world, pursuing research at the cutting edge of
science. Several of them have earned high recognitions.
He brought the best practices of Bell Labs into his teaching. One significant
innovation was the introduction of ”Project Laboratory” for second year M.Sc.
Students, in which each student made a "Proposal" for conducting a new
experiment or constructing an instrument, then used the laboratories and
library to carry out the work, and finally make a professional Report to submit
for publication. This concept first
initiated by R.P. Riesz at American College has
now been adopted by several important institutions throughout India.
With modest facilities available in a government aided college like The
American College, he was able to guide experimental research work of one of
the junior colleagues in the department to earn his Ph.D degree using the
vacuum system which he designed.
Besides this, he guided the M.Phil project work of many teacher candidates of
other colleges in the University area.
11. List up to 5 significant text/reference books written along with reviews, if any:
No formal books were published. Dr. Riesz produced carefully prepared manuals of high
technical quality for internal use in respect of (1) Machineshop
practice, (2) Electronics
experiments, (3) Optics experiments, (4) Photography, (5) Vacuum system. In addition
several laboratory innovations were published in pedagogic and regular journals for a
larger audience (see attached CV).
12. List current positions of up to six former students of the Nominee (give names, level
and year of their study period, contact details including their emails and mobile
● Prof. G. Baskaran (M.Sc. 19681970),
Institute of Mathematical Sciences,
Chennai baskaran@imsc.res.in, Bhatnagar Prize (1990), FNA, FASc. Mobile:
● Prof. R. Simon (M.Sc. 19701972),
Institute of Mathematical Sciences,
Chennai simon@imsc.res.in Bhatnagar Prize (1993), FNA, FASc. Mobile:
● Prof. R. Srianand (M.Sc. 198991),
IUCAA, Pune anand@iucaa.ernet.in, INSA
young scientist medal (1997), Bhatnagar Prize (2008), FASc. Mobile:
● Prof. R. Sridharan (M.Sc. 19691971),
r_sridharan777@yahoo.co.in, formerly at PRL, then Director of Space
Physics Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram. Now back at PRL as CSIR
Emeritus Professor. Mobile: 9429199824
● Prof. Champion Deivanayagam (M.Sc. 19861988),
Department of Vision
Sciences, University of Alabama, Burmingham, USA champy @uab.edu,
Mobile: 0012054104919
● Prof. Albert M. Thomas (M.Sc. 19761978),
Professor of Radiology and
Director of magnetic resonance spectroscopy, UCLA, LA, CA
AThomas@mednet.ucla.edu Mobile: 0013108251764
13. A brief note (not exceeding 100 words) highlighting other academic activities in
addition to regular duties, such as general/
popular articles / lectures on science,
organizing seminars / workshops, outreach activities etc.
Dr. Riesz was very involved with improving Physics Education in other
colleges in Tamilnadu and beyond. He organized:
● a UGC sponsored AllIndia
Summer Institute of Optical Physics (SWOP 70)
for College Physics teachers to introduce for the first time concepts of
Fourier Optics, and Matrix Methods in Geometrical Optics.
● a UGC sponsored AllIndia
Summer Institute in Semiconductor Electronics
and Electron Devices (SEED 73), to introduce in a major way semiconductor
electronics in laboratory work.
● He involved himself, PG students and teachers, to interact with High School
Students in the rural place Devakkottai in Tamilnadu as a weekend exercise
for several weeks, for years, to create an interest in Physics for students of
9th & 10th classes in two schools there. Recently Subbiah Arunachalam
(scientometrist) recalled vividly the passion with which Riesz pursued this
outreach mission.
● Founder and during the initial years President of the Physics Club of
Madurai involving all the University and College Physics Teachers in and
around Madurai.
14. Any recognition / honour at state / national level received by the Nominee for excellence
in teaching.
In recognition of his pioneering efforts to promote the teaching of modern
optics, Riesz was singled out for some significant recognitions by the Raman
Research Institute, founded by the Nobel Laureate Sir C.V. Raman:
● A Hilger Quartz Spectrograph, one of C.V Raman's prized possessions, and
a plate measuring equipment, were given on a permanent loan to Prof.
Riesz by the Raman Research Institute Trust. Characteristically, Riesz
adapted this historic spectrograph to modern needs by replacing the
photographic plate by an electronic detector array.
● To commemorate the Birth Centenary of Sir C V Raman in 1988, INSA and
the Indian Academy of Sciences jointly commissioned Dr G Venkataraman
to write a scientific biography of Raman. At Dr. Venkataraman's request,
Riesz recreated many of Raman’s classic experiments using LASER light.
Indeed, many of the photographs that appear in Venkataraman's
internationally acclaimed Journey into light were produced by Riesz.
● As part of the centenary celebrations, the Raman Research Institute invited
Prof. Riesz as a Visiting Professor during the centenary year.
● While the Science Academies jointly commissioned the biography, the
Raman Institute Trust decided that an Optics Kit that could be widely
distributed in the country would be a fitting tribute to CV Raman. Professor
Riesz was invited to design and produce the prototype of this kit. A
commercial firm specializing in science kits manufactured and marketed
this kit.
15. Attach latest CV (not more than 3 pages of A4 size paper) of the Nominee
(List of research publications should be restricted to 10 best papers only).
Nominator’s Details
1. Name of the Nominator: SIMON RAJIAH
Surname First Name Middle Name
2. Designation: Senior Professor
3. Institution: The Institute of Mathematical Sciences
4. Address for Correspondence: The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, CIT Campus,
Tharamani, Chennai 600113.
Tel (O): 044 22543100
Tel (R): 044 24510280
Mobile: 9444111865
5. In what capacity and for how long do you know the Nominee:
For forty years: as a student, then as a colleague, and now as an admirer of his mission.
Information provided in the above nomination is true to the best of my knowledge.
Date: 29052013
Place: Chennai Signature and Seal of the Nominator
in support of the nomination of Prof. RP Riesz (Annexure to # 8)
Dr. RP Riesz, fondly called RPR by students and colleagues, the founder of the PostGraduate
Physics Department (PGPD) of The American College, Madurai is likely to be unique among
those nominated for the INSA Teachers Award. Some of the things that make him unique are
listed below. To start with, RPR did not walk into an established department and start teaching.
He had to work very hard to establish the department from scratch in a remote part of India,
with very modest resources at his disposal. His vision was to design a purposeful rewarding
program that would suit the needs of the kind of students who are likely to come there to study,
and empower his students to get physics jobs in activities related to the skills they would have
acquired during their M.Sc. programme. There is wide consensus in Indiain
the Academia,
DRDO Labs, DAE establishments, ISRO, etc.that
RPR accomplished his goals with great
success. ``A neverending
sequence of well thoughtout
be a fairly
accurate first approximation description of RPR's approach to his vision and mission. Given
below is a summary of some components of his achievements:
● His first activity was to gather/equip the required teaching staff. This he did by
encouraging both the existing faculty of the undergraduate department and the very few
new faculty members he was allowed to recruit to undertake advanced study and
research in various institutes of higher learning, taking full advantage of the UGC FIP
program that was available.
● In parallel, he built up an enviable departmental library. He made the best use of the
various grants of UGC and other agencies. He also persuaded his friends in USA to
donate subscriptions for more that a dozen international journals. PGPD was one of
the very few college departments in India that could boast of having on its shelves
famous journals like the Physical Review, Reviews of Modern Physics, Bell System
Technical Journal, many journals of IRE (to become IEEE later), all journals of the
Optical Society of America (the last two through subsidised subscription as Member),
etc. He succeeded in shipping into the departmental library huge personal collections
of books from several prominent physicist friends of his, including his father Robert
● He established a Journal Club in Madurai which met regularly. Often, he himself
reviewed research articles for the benefit of the faculty and PG students. He also
encouraged the faculty and students to do the same. Thus, a new culture was
● Improving the quality of laboratory (practical) work was his major concern and
preoccupation. The ‘experiments’ that used to be just crude and routine were replaced
with serious experiments to make accurate measurement of physical quantities (like
measurement of short lengths, short time durations, etc). The emphasis was on
accuracy, reproducibility, and experimentation as
a tool in learning. Mindless (so called) ‘experiments’ were replaced and the emphasis
was shifted to learning about methods of experimental physics. This thrust, and shift
in the paradigm, introduced by RPR was absolutely unique in south India. This, more
than anything else, established PGPD as a ``Brand”.
● With generous contributions from Bell Labs and friends he built a stateoftheart
comparable to the best in the country. He made workshop practice
compulsory for students. This, again, was a pioneering step way back in the early
1960s. Students were `encouraged' to fabricate parts of equipment required for their
● Another novel initiative was “entropy reduction” as a part of the laboratory work. Students
were encouraged to repair and check the calibration of instruments and equipments they
use in their laboratory. No `attender' stood between the students and the supply. If a
student broke a gadget or found one to be not functioning, she should try and fix it; and
if she did not succeed, she should report the same in a logbook
kept for that purpose.
There was no other rule in the lab! When the nominator was a student of PGPD, on
one occasion RPR walked into the lab to measure something and found the gadget he
needed nonfunctional.
We heard him say (think aloud): I hope I am the first one to notice
this!. Breaking something (however expensive be it) was never an offence; failure to
record in the log was. `Breakage fine’ was unheard of in PGPD
● Use of the departmental library was a vital component of life at PGPD. The PGPD
library was open to the students 24 hours, all days of the week, and they could also issue
books any time of the day or night simply by making entry in a logbook
kept for the
purpose, and return the next working day. Students could be regularly found working in
the library even during the vee hours of the night. When the nominator was in RPR's
Faculty, the issue of students sleeping in the Library once came up, and RPR's
response was: `No mosquito nets please!' The Students ran monthly
inventory on a specific Saturday of the month. And the library never lost books! Similar
was the case with the Labs as well.
● The lecture courses emphasised deeper understanding of concepts and concentrated on
abilities as against reproduction of `derivations'. Abolishing the then
existing `write an essay on ...' mode of questions, RPR fought his way through with
the university to introduce an examination pattern wherein only 40% of the question
paper could be on bookwork
or derivations. Probing brainteasers,
whose answer could
be as short as a word and typically a sentence, constituted 20%, and the other 40% was
The `letter' of this aspect seems to have by now trickled down to most
institutions in the South.
● RPR introduced a new type of practical examination in which the students were given
a physical problem or situation and were expected to design experimental and
measurement techniques to achieve the desired end, and then implement the design in
the laboratory. Different students would do different things in answer to the same
● A unique course he designed and taught was entitled “Basic Skills in Physics Learning”.
This was designed to improve learning skills. The course was a great success and
became enormously popular [Physics Today Vol. 42, 146 (1988)].
● The American College became an autonomous Institution in the year 1978. Even before
that RPR, through considerable effort, was able to get functional autonomy from the
University for PGPD to periodically update the curriculum. He utilized this
to introduce a set of courses on Applied Optics, which included
Fourier Optics. With this step, the Optics program in the department became a unique
one in the country. On the practical side, this training in contemporary optics, along with
their training in electronics, made American College students much sought after by the
research laboratories of the country.
● The Tuesday Seminar is bound to be permanently etched in the memory of everyone to
have passed through PGPD, and was taken very very seriously. Every student was
required at least one full (hour long) professional seminar presentation. The entire PGPD
would be there. RPR was always there without fail, and at his probing best. Preparation
by a student was for weeks, and in some cases for months. It was real `baptism by the
fire’. And a defining moment in the student's life.
● PRP’s lectures were enviably inspiring, and his boardwork
has no parallel that I know of.
For forty years I have been struggling to imitate this ideal, and the struggle continues.
● Several famous physicists, including several Nobel laureates, visited as RPR’s
personal guests and interacted with the students for varied time durations.
● Frequent inhouse
retraining (``Faculty Retreats'') was another feature of RPR's
department. The Faculty went on camp for about 8 to 10 days to some nice place like
Kodaikanal. Sometimes the Retreat was on campus. During these retreats, in all of
which RPR participated intensely, an indepth
study of a specific area of advanced
physics would be undertaken. For instance, during the summer of 1972 Prof PM
Mathews gave an intense fourweek
long full course of lecturescumdiscussions
Quantum Mechanics & Elementary Quantum Field Theory. RPR's PGPD can take pride
in the fact that this oncampus
`retreat' was a precursor to the highly acclaimed
Textbook on Quantum Mechanics by PM Mathews and K Venkatesan published in
1976. On occasions, these retreats were used to update the curriculum, and well as to
brainstorm about possible new courses. This was another hallmark of PGPD.
● RPR recognized that the facilities of PGPD (laboratories, workshop, darkrooms, Faculty,
and Students) could also be made available for “consultancy work” for outside
Companies and Institutions. With this in mind, he started a Department of Applied
Science (DAS), which undertook projects and services for profit, by the faculty and also
the students trained in PGPD. With no financial grant from the College, or Government,
or any other agency, the selfsustaining
DAS has been extremely successful in
fabrication of instruments for the industry as well as for academic departments and
hospitals, and also repairing and servicing hightech
electronic and other instruments. In
this way, the students and employees became socially ‘relevant’ to the community at
large, and students were enabled to be absorbed into the society as valuable members.
CMC & CMCHospital,
Vellore, for instance, was a major benefactor and beneficiary of
DAS. As his colleague, I have often heard RPR confidently telling young persons looking
for employment: If you want a `post' I have none to offer, but if you can do a job, I
can find one for you in DAS. And he meant it! Always!! This is a profound statement,
for it captures on the one hand the success of DAS as an innovation. On the other, it
captures RPR's philosophy for PGPD: to equip the students with real skills rather than
simply paper qualification. RPR considered DAS as an important `outreach’ programme
and has presented, on invitation, a writeup
on this enormously successful innovation
[Doing Applied Science in a College, Eur. Jour. Phys. Vol.4, 34 (1983)].
● In another very significant innovation and outreach to put the PGPD instruments to fuller
socially relevant use, RPR started a programme called "Jivana Jyoti", which was a
teaching effort to empower physically challenged young persons in use of computers.
This effort has been enormously effective and has trained to date hundreds of
young persons, who have been absorbed into the workforce, despite the usual
negative feelings towards physicallychallenged
The list of farsighted
initiatives by RPR is almost endless! RPR gave up a very successful and
promising research career at one of the world’s most famous labs and came to Madurai as a
young man at the prime of his life. He devoted the next thirty years to improving physics
education in India. The partial list given above should give a feeling for his foresight, commitment
and sustained dedication to this cause.
PGPD had no secretary (typist). Even though RPR was quite adept at typing, Joyce should have
realized that that would not be an efficient use of his energy. So this mother of three children
would, on a regular basis, bicycle to PGPD at all kinds of time, and type out for hours RPR’s
communications from a taperecorder.
A former female student of PGPD once told this
nominator that in her own married life later, she found this a great lesson and inspiration as to
how wife and husband could play for the same team.
Two traits made RPR’s mission so very effective. First, he moulded PGPD into a grand
family. The frequent parties which Joyce & RPR threw at their residence for the nearly
PGPD were not only times of great food, fun, and games, but also helped to
strengthen this very bond. Students looked at Joyce as a mother away from home. Second,
RPR believed in leading from the front, by example and inspiration, as against driving from
the back through executive orders. He would be in office, before eight and work till ten in the night
(or even later), except for brief periods when he would bicycle home for meals. It was
impossible for the students and faculty not to copy. The Riesz’s were infectious rolemodels
and ideals, not just in academics, but in other dimensions of life as well.
RPR was a Missionary par excellence, in the true sense of that word; PGPD was his Mission
Field, and bringing purpose into Physics Education was his gospel. G. N. Ramachandran,
M. K. Vainu Bappu, S. Ramaseshan, Babulal Saraf, V. Radhakrishnan, G. Venkatraman, N.
Kumar, G. Srinivasan, Rajaram Nityananda, and others have talked about the vision, mission,
and achievement of RPR in glorious terms on various occasions. INSA has done well to have
now an instrument by which the unparalleled services of such exceptional people could be put
on record.
2013 is the Golden Jubilee year of RPR’s mission, PGPD. At least hundred members of the
PGPD family are scattered throughout the United States, and many of them plan to gather in
Washington, DC on July 13th to celebrate the Golden Jubilee in the company of Joyce &
RPR who moulded them into what they are, most of them having originated from poor and rural
backgrounds. This year is thus particularly appropriate to recognise RPR’s unique
CV of Richard Parrish Riesz (Annexure to # 15)
RICHARD PARRISH RIESZ (fondly called RPR by students and colleagues) was born in New York City
on April 26, 1928, the first son of Alice and Robert Riesz, a physicist of no small repute. He grew up
and attended schools in Mount Vernon NY and Chatham NJ, obtained a BA (cum laude) degree in
Physics and Mathematics from Drew University in Madison NJ (1949) and a Ph.D. in Physics from the
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (1954).In 1949 he married Joyce Gederberg, and they
lived in Baltimore MD during his graduate studies.
He joined the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1954 as Member of the Technical Staff and worked
in solid-state device research until 1962. During that period they lived in Berkeley Heights NJ, and
their three children (Matthew, Christina, Martha) were born. He and his family were active in the
Stanley Congregational Church UCC of Chatham NJ.
In 1962 he and his wife accepted appointments as Missionaries of the ABCFM (soon to become the
United Church Board for Foreign Missions) and moved to Madurai, a city in South India where he
undertook the work of starting a Graduate School of Physics in The American College, an Indian
College with mission antecedents. During the next 30 years he led this Department, started and
nurtured the Department of Applied Science (a self-sustaining multi-disciplinary enterprise with no
financial grant from the Government, or the College, or any other agency); was responsible for the
initiative that led to the Autonomy of the College (the first such College in Tamil Nadu); served as
the first Dean of Academic Affairs of the (Autonomous) American College; and initiated and nurtured
at the American College “Jivana Jyoti”, a special program for teaching computer skills to physically
challenged young persons.
He had a close collaboration with the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore for several years. He
was a founding member and Vice-President of the Optical Society of India, and a Member and Chair
of the Governing Council of the Kodaikanal International School.
During two “furloughs from India” he enjoyed one-year appointments as Member of the Technical
Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories. During each of two other furloughs he was a Visiting
Professor at the Claremont College, Claremont, California.
Both he (and his wife) became adept at the Tamil language and the music of South India, to the
extent of giving Carnatic Music performances himself. They enjoyed many sessions and concerts of
Carnatic Music in Madurai and elsewhere.
In 1993 they left India and retired to Pleasant Hill TN where they joined the Uplands Retirement
Village. In retirement he continued his interactions with the American College and India. Because of
his enduring passion for the College and Madurai, he led at least five “SIP” (South India Pilgrimage)
trips to Madurai, and thus introduced more than 100 persons to the life and culture of South India. He
also became a Trustee and later President of the American College Endowment Trust Fund, and
visited India in 2008 for the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the American College.
He entered into the life of Pleasant Hill, Tennesse, first as a Member of the Pleasant Hill
Community Church (UCC) where he continues to serve on a number of Committees. He was elected
as a Member of the Pleasant Hill Town Council, and selected as Vice-Mayor for two years. After
leaving the Council he was the Chairman of an active Planning Commission which introduced modern
Town Planning instruments.
He and his wife continue to enjoy many contacts with India, and visitors from the College and other
dear friends from their 30 years of service in India. Of course, family visitors continue to be
Grandchildren are:
From daughter Martha Forlenza (Gerald): Michael, and Anthony Forlenza (North Canton, OH)
From daughter Christina Whiteway (Tom): Stephen and Alexa Whiteway (Chambersburg, PA)
From son Matthew Riesz (Marita): Christopher and Timothy Riesz (Matawan, NJ)
Current contacts (since January 2011)
1376 West Main Street, P.O. Box 384
Pleasant Hill TN 38578
Phone: 931-277-5642
e-mail: dickriesz@frontiernet.net
1. R Riesz and GH Dieke: The Analysis and Purification of Rare Gases by Means of Electric Discharges,
Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 25 , No.2, 196 (1954).
2. GL Pearson and RP Riesz: High‐Speed Switching Diodes from Plastically Deformed Germanium
Journal of Applied Physics, Volume: 30 , Issue: 3, 311 (1959).
3. RP Riesz and LV Sharp: Some properties of vacuum-evaporated thin films of germanium,
Electron Devices, (IRE Transactions on), Volume: 8 , Issue: 5, 430 (1961).
4. RP Riesz and CG Bjorling: Sample Preparation for Transmission Electron Microscopy of Germanium,
Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume: 32 , Issue: 8, 889(1961).
5. RP Riesz: High Speed Semiconductor Photodiodes, Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume: 33,
Issue: 9, 994 (1962).
6. RP Riesz and MR Biazzo: Gigahertz Optical Modulation, Applied Optics, Vol. 8, Issue 7, 1393 (1969).
7. RP Riesz: Optical interaction with high-field domain nucleation in GaAs, Electron Devices, (IEEE
Transactions on), Volume: 17 , Issue: 1, 81 (1970).
8. G Balasubramanian and RP Riesz: Digital thickness monitor using only one crystal oscillator
Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume: 52 , Issue: 5, 746 (1981).
9. RP Riesz and R Simon: Reflection of a Gaussian beam from a dielectric slab, Journal of the Optical
Society of America A, Vol. 2, Issue 11, 1809 (1985).
10. RP Riesz: High Speed Rectifier, US Patent # 2,959,505 (1960);
RP Riesz: Formation of p-n Junctions in p-type Semiconductors,
US Patent # 2,992,471 (1961);
BG King and RP Riesz, Gunn Effect Driver for Optical Modulators,
US Patent # 3,573,465 (1971).
1. RP Riesz: Doing Applied Science in a College, Eur. J. Phys. Volume 4, 34 (1983).[Here RPR describes,
on invitation, his enormously successful innovation, the Department of Applied Science (DAS).]
2. RP Riesz and V Srinivasan: Teaching Students How to Learn Physics, Physics Today Vol. 42, 146
(1989). [Describes the success of the innovative course Basic Skills in physics Learning.
3. RP Riesz: A New Programme of M.Sc. Physics Studies at The American College, Madurai,Physics
Education Vol. 1 No. 2 (1984). [Describes, for the benefit of others, the enormously successful
programme of RPR.]
4. RP Riesz: An Optics Course for Non-Science Students, Using Take-Home Apparatus, Journal of Optics
Vol.12, No. 2 (1983). [Describes a very successful {\Optics Course for Poets}.]
5. RP Riesz and AR Venkataraman: Implementation of College Autonomy, New Frontiers in Education,
Vol. 10, No. 1, 28 (1980). [Details the meticulous preparation for College Autonomy.]
6. RP Riesz: Dimensions of the teaching-learning process at the Tertiary level of education -
for Autonomous Colleges, The Educational Review, Vol. 94, No. 11, 184 (1988). [Assessment of the
actual experience of implementing College Autonomy.]
7. R Simon and RP Riesz: Large amplitude simple pendulum: A Fourier analysis, American Journal of
Physics, Volume 47, Issue 10, 898 (1979).
8. J J Prabhakaran, G Balasubramaniam, and RP Riesz: A convenient Fizeau Interferometer for Thin-Film
Thickness measurement, CSIO Communications Vol. 9, No. 1 (1982).
9. RP Riesz: A Simple Lens holder for Introductory Optics Laboratories}, Journal of Optics Vol.12, No. 4
10. RP Riesz: An Optics Course for Non-Science Students, Using Take-Home Apparatus}, Journal of
Optics Vol.12, No. 2 (1983).
11. RP Riesz and R Simon: Splitting of a Gaussian Beam on Reflection from a Dielectric Slab --
Experimental, Journal of Optics Vol.14, No. 1 (1985).

Saturday, April 5, 2014








None can question the presence and visit of Dr. Riesz to our college campus. However the 'diplomacy' of Dr. Christober in bringing him in the last minute in the invitation as well as  in the college day function makes the lovers of the college frightened and worried. He will definitely try to harvest the maximum political mileage of the visit of the Chairman of our college Trustees. 

I personally got  phone calls from friends inquiring about the advertisement in the dailies regarding today's function in the college and Dr.Riesz's presence in the function. 

Prof. D. Samuel Lawrence has already posted a mail to Dr. Riesz, echoing the feelings of people who have been supporting the cause of the college.

Saturday, March 8, 2014



There is a good adage, a very popular one, in Tamil :  செருப்புக்கு ஏத்த மாதிரி காலை வெட்டிக்கிறது ... (cut your legs to suit your shoes!) Our great man Davamani is trying to do that – starting an education department in our college, so that his “Ph.D. in Education” may become ‘suitable and acceptable’. 

I really admire him – for all his knacks in the ‘hurdles run’!

The following are some materials from my reliable sources to keep him exposed in  his legal jugglery with his forgery and perjury.


Dr. Rajendra Pandian’s email to the Principal sent on March 03, 2014 with copies to Members of the Senatus, The American College:

Dear Sir:

Greetings to you!                     
I, as a member of the faculty, submit to send you this mail much against my natural instinct for self restraint at a time as this. I think it is no longer a secret that your PhD degree is dubious; it was shocking to learn that the university that awarded the degree has said you got the certificate “wrongly and fraudulently” and “stage-managed”. 

 When it is widely speculated —thanks to the ongoing litigation questioning your qualification and selection as Principal—that you, with PhD  “only” in Education [and not Mathematics / “Interdisciplinary” as you claim], may be disqualified from heading this institution which doesn’t offer programs in that discipline, it came as a bizarre piece of information  that Dr. G. C. Abraham, the Vice-Principal had suggested in a recent Senatus meeting that the college should think of offering “Education” in its curriculum. I also heard you promptly hushed him up, for some reason or other, and there was no discussion, resolution, whatsoever on it in the Senatus. 

In this context, many of us were taken by surprise when we learnt something like: the administration had filed a document with the Honorable Madras High Court Bench, Madurai on Feb 24, 2014 conveying that “Education” might soon find a place in the college curriculum!!

Is it true that such a representation to the court was made?

 If so, doesn’t your effort to introduce a course in “Education” in this fashion, if ever possible in a liberal arts college as ours, demonstrate a desperation to help yourself rather than the desire to serve God and People, as we always claim? By the way, I would also like to know whether the court is the only forum in receipt of such representation. The perceived manipulation and misrepresentation of fact in this regard alongside a daring abuse of autonomy are unacceptable!

I thank you, Sir.               
M. Rajendra Pandian                                           
Dept. of English

Reported highlights of the Senatus meeting held on March 04, 2014:

·         The Principal admitted that he had presented a document to the court stating the Senatus had resolved to create a Department of Education. When some members said it came up only as a feeble suggestion followed by no discussion or resolution, he said it was resolved so as it was not opposed!!
·         When some agitated senior members of the Senatus asked the Vice Principal whether any such a resolution was passed he said “No”.
·         The Principal refused to circulate the minutes of the particular meeting saying that it was not yet ready [whereas he had already filed a fake document with  the court as Senatus minutes].
·         Those senior members who argued with him for about an hour condemned this as “breach of trust”, and “blatant lying” walked out of the Hall.

Faculty Meeting and Academic Council Meeting as reported:

·         Over the same issue and the denial of permission to discuss it, there was increased unrest for about two hours in the faculty meeting on March 06, 2014 preceding the academic council meetings. 
·         The academic Council meeting on March 07, 2014 went on without any mention of “Education”. Queries from two senior faculty members on the alleged issuance of “fabricated mark sheets” to some students and the furnishing of “false records” to the AICTE for getting extension for the MBA program elicited no answer.

Visit http://chinnarajwrites.blogspot.in/ to access related documents.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

எனது கதையும், கொஞ்சம் என் DE-ADDICTION-ம் ...


எனது கதையும், 

கொஞ்சம் என் DE-ADDICTION-ம் ...

சென்ற மாதம் 27ம் தேதி கல்லூரி வளாகத்தினுள் எனக்குக் கிடைத்த ஒரு சோகமான அனுபவத்தை உங்களோடு பகிர்ந்து கொள்ளவே இந்தப் பதிவு. சற்றே இருந்த ஒரு உடல் நலக் குறைவால் – முழங்கால் வலி - உடனே உங்களோடு அதைப் பகிர்ந்து கொள்ள முடியாமல், இப்போது தான் அதைப் பற்றிச் சொல்லப் போகிறேன். சொல்லாமலே இருப்பதை விட காலம் தாழ்த்தியாவது சொல்ல நினைக்கிறேன்.

நான் அமெரிக்கன் கல்லூரியின் மாணவனல்ல. தியாகராஜர் கல்லூரியில் படிக்கும் போதே மதுரை மாணவர்களுக்கே உரித்தான ஏக்கம் மட்டும் இருந்தது. 1970ல் கல்லூரியில் demonstrator ஆக நுழைந்தேன் – ஓராண்டில் பதவி உயர்வு கிடைக்கும் என்ற அடிப்படையில். அடுத்த ஆண்டு துறைத் தலைவர் முயற்சித்தும் நடக்காது போயிற்று. அதன் பின் நடந்தவை
எல்லாமே ஏட்டிக்குப் போட்டியான “விளையாட்டுகள்தான். எனக்குக் கிடைக்க வேண்டிய பதவி உயர்வு கிடைக்காது பல ஆண்டுகள் நழுவின. அதன் பின்னும், நம் கல்லூரி ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு வழக்கமாகக் கிடைக்கக் கூடிய எந்த ‘bones’ம் எனக்கு மட்டும் எப்போதும் எட்டாக் கனியாகவே இருந்தது.  ஓய்வு பெறும் காலம் வரையும் அது நீடித்தது.எனக்குப் பின் வந்தோரே முன் வந்தோராக, துறைத்தலைவராக இருக்கும் போது தான் நான் ஓய்வு பெற்றேன். எல்லாம் சில பெரிய மனிதர்களின் ‘ego problems’களால் நடந்த திருவிளையாடல்கள். சரி … அவைகளெல்லாம் போகட்டும் ...

   ஆனால் இந்தப் பின்னடைவுகள் எப்போதும் என்னை எங்கேயும் நிறுத்தவில்லை. கற்பித்தது பிடித்தது; கற்பது பிடித்தது. மாணவர்களை நேசித்தேன்; அதற்குப் பதிலாக, என் தகுதிகளையும் மீறி மாணவர்களால் மிகவும் நேசிக்கப்பட்டேன். கல்லூரியை மிக மிக நேசித்தேன். கல்லூரியின் கட்டிடங்கள், சாலைகள், முக்கு முடுக்குகள் என்று எல்லாவற்றையும் நேசித்தேன். நான் புகைப்படம் எடுக்காத ஒரு சிறு பகுதியும் கல்லூரியில் இருக்காது என்பது என் நேசத்திற்கு ஒரு சின்ன சாட்சி. என் வாழ்க்கையையே கல்லூரியோடு இயைந்த வாழ்க்கையாக ஆகிப் போய் விட்டது. வெகு நாள் ஆசைப்பட்டது போல் என் பிள்ளைகளின் திருமணங்களையும் பல சங்கடங்களின் ஊடே இக்கல்லூரியின் உள்ளேயே நடத்தினேன். என் சாவிற்குப் பின் கோவில் குளம் ஏதும் கொண்டு போக வேண்டாம்; ஒரு வேளை அதிகமாக நீங்கள் ஆசைப்பட்டால் கல்லூரிக் கோவிலுக்கு வேண்டுமானால் கொண்டு செல்லுங்கள் என்று குடும்பத்தினரிடம் ஒரு காலத்தில் சொல்லியுமுள்ளேன்.

ஓய்வு பெற்றதும் பல ஆசிரியர்கள் அதன் பின் கல்லூரி பக்கமே எட்டிப் பார்ப்பதும் கிடையாது. அதுவும் கல்லூரியில் இருக்கும் போது பல ‘bones’ பெற்ற பேராசிரியர்களும் இங்கு தலைநீட்டுவது என்பதே கூட கிடையாது. ஒரு வேளை அவர்கள் இதுவரை கல்லூரியோடு வைத்திருந்த தொடர்பு ஒரு விரும்பாத திருமண உறவு போல் இருந்து,  இப்போது ‘கழட்டி விட்ட பின்’ அப்பாடா ... என்று நிம்மதியாக ஓடிப் போய் விட்டார்களோ என்று கூட எனக்குத் தோன்றும்.  ஆனால் எனக்கு அப்படியில்லை. ஒய்வு பெற்ற பிறகும் அடிக்கடி கல்லூரி சென்று வந்தேன். வெளியூர் சென்று மீண்டும் மதுரைக்குள் நுழைந்ததும் அடுத்ததாகச் செய்வது அநேகமாக கல்லூரிக்கு வந்து சிறிது நேரம் வளாகக் காற்றை சுவாசிப்பதுவே வழக்கமாகிப் போனது. கல்லூரியோடு அப்படி ஒரு ADDICTION ஆகிப் போனது.


பின் போராட்டங்கள் வெடித்தன. அப்போதும் அடிக்கடி கல்லூரி சென்று வந்தேன். போராளிகளோடு உடன் இருப்பதே ஒரு திருப்தியாக இருந்தது. இன்று வரை இணையத்தின் மூலம் கல்லூரி நிகழ்வுகளைத் தொடர்ந்து பரிமாறிக்கொண்டு வருகிறேன். (ஆனாலும் நான் பரிமாறியதை அதிகமாக நீங்கள் யாரும் வாசித்ததாகவும் தெரியவில்லை!) இச்சூழலில் கடந்த சில மாதங்களாக எனக்குக் கல்லூரிக்குச் செல்வதே ஒரு பெரிய adventureஆகப் போய் விட்டது. வாசலிலேயே நிறுத்தப்படுவது, அல்லது ஏதாவது வசவுகளைத் தாண்டிச் செல்வது என்றானது. இதிலிருந்து மீண்டு வரவேண்டுமென, கஷ்டப்பட்டு கல்லூரிக்குள் செல்லும் வழக்கத்தை விட முயற்சித்துக் கொண்டிருந்தேன். அதாவது,  DE-ADDICTION-க்குப் பழகிக் கொண்டு வந்தேன். ஆனால் அதற்குள் ...

டிசம்பர் 27-ம் தேதி 1980-83 ல் படித்த பழைய மாணவர்கள் சிலர் ஒன்று கூடுவதாகச் சொன்னார்கள். அடுத்த ஆண்டு முழு வகுப்பையும் வைத்து விழா நடத்த வேண்டும்; ஆகவே இந்த ஆண்டு சிலர் மட்டும் ஒன்று சேரப் போகிறோம் என்றார்கள்.மற்ற ஆசிரியர்கள் யாரையும் அடுத்த ஆண்டு அழைக்கிறோம்; இந்த ஆண்டு எங்களோடு நீங்கள் மட்டும் சேர்ந்து கொள்ளுங்கள் என்றார்கள். சரியென்றேன். ஆனால் கல்லூரிக்குள் நான் வருவது சிரமம் என்றேன். நாங்கள் உங்களுக்காக வெளியே காத்திருக்கிறோம் என்றார்கள். நான் வேண்டுமென்றே 15 நிமிடம் தாமதமாகச் சென்றேன். அதற்குள் எட்டு மாணவர்கள் கல்லூரி வாசலுக்குள் 10 மீட்டர் தூரத்தில் நின்று கொண்டிருந்தார்கள். இரு சக்கர வண்டியில், நான் உள்ளே நுழைந்தேன். வாயிற்காப்போர்கள் இருவர் என்னையும் உள்ளே விட்டு விட்டார்கள்! அதே பத்து மீட்டர் தூரத்தில் இருந்த மாணவர்களோடு பேசிக் கொண்டிருந்தேன். ஐந்து நிமிடங்கள் கூட ஆகியிருக்காது. வாயிற்காப்போர்கள் என்னிடம் வந்து தனியே அழைத்தார்கள். மிக மரியாதையாகப் பேசினார்கள். ”முதல்வரிடமிருந்து போன் வந்தது;  உங்களை உடனே வெளியே அனுப்பும்படி உத்தரவு வந்தது” என்றார்கள்.

ஓரளவு எதிர்பார்த்தது நடந்ததால் எனக்கு இதில் எந்த எதிர்ப்பு உணர்வும் வரவில்லை; அதோடு மாணவர்களின் மகிழ்ச்சியைக் கெடுக்கவும் விரும்பவில்லை. அவர்களே என்னென்னவோ சொல்லித்தான் உள்ளே சென்றிருக்கிறார்கள். அவர்களுக்குக் கல்லூரிக்குள் காலாற நடந்து வர ஆசை என்று அப்போது தான் சொல்லிக் கொண்டிருந்தார்கள். நான் அவர்களை நீங்கள் கல்லூரிக்குள் சுற்றி வாருங்கள்; நான் ‘பாதுகாப்பான’ பத்து மீட்டர் தூரத்தில் வெளியே நிற்கிறேன் என்றேன்.
 வந்திருந்த மாணவர்களுக்கு நம்ப முடியாத அதிர்ச்சி. வந்திருந்தவர்களில் இருவர் வக்கீல்கள். ஒரு வக்கீல் இந்த அநியாயத்திற்கு எதிர்த்து உள்ளே செல்வோம் என்றான். இன்னும் கொஞ்சம் கல்லூரி நிலைமை தெரிந்த வக்கீலின் கண்கள் நீர் கோத்து நின்றன. ’உங்களுக்கு இந்த நிலையா’ என்று சொன்னார்கள். ஆசுவாசப்படுத்தி அவர்களை உள்ளே அனுப்பி விட்டு வெளியே பத்து மீட்டர் தூரத்தில் அவர்களுக்காகக் காத்து நின்றேன்.

இதில் இன்னொரு வேடிக்கையும் நடந்துள்ளது. மாணவர்கள் வாசலிலிருந்து மெயின் ஹால் வரை செல்வதற்குள் இருவர் பைக்கில் வந்திருக்கிறார்கள். என் பெயரைச் சொல்லி, அவர் எங்கே என்று கேட்டிருக்கிறார்கள் – thorough checking !!! நான் வெளியே நிற்கிறேன் என்று சொன்னதும், திருப்தியாக திரும்பிக்கொண்டே – ‘ எங்கள் நம்பர் ஒன் எதிரி ‘ என்று அவர்களிடம் கத்திச் சொல்லிவிட்டுச் சென்றார்களாம். Thank you Dr.Christober.

பிறகு இன்னொரு ஆசிரியரிடம் அவர் ‘ அவர்தான் ப்ளாக் எழுதுறார்ல;  பிறகு அவருக்கு உள்ளே என்ன வேலை? ‘ என்று கோபமாகக் கேட்டாராம்.

photos by KUMAR

Monday, January 27, 2014



(08-11-1935  ------14-01-2014)

 As I write this, several thoughts about Prof. J.Vasanthan criss-cross my mind; some of them coming to the surface yearning for expression. I don't know how far I would succeed in presenting these thoughts in a coherent form. But, let me try.

While I am sad that the icy hand of Death has snatched Prof. J.Vasanthan away from us  I am happy that I had the privilege of being one of his close friends.  I thank God for the gift of friendship with him because, in more than one way, it moulded my character, and broadened my outlook on life and the world. The indescribable bond that existed between him and me resulted in enriching and enlivening my life.

He was a simple, sincere and affectionate person. He may be called a non-conformist,  who lived in a world of his own,  far removed from the mundane, materialistic and Machiavellian world..He was never after popularity, publicity, position or power. The truth is that they came seeking him because of the many talents God had endowed him with.( Had he been interested he could have easily gone to some big city in India or abroad and become rich and  well-known. In fact, offers came to him but he was simply not interested in them). He loved teaching ;he loved Madurai; he loved the American College and he loved life. He was a great teacher, writer, artist, conversationalist and above all a fine human being.  

As a teacher, he won the hearts of many a student through his interesting and informative lectures, peppered with wit and humour- liberally sprinkled with interesting anecdotes and funny jokes. He had the extra-ordinary skill of presenting his ideas and thoughts  using simple but the most appropriate words and expressions. His drama, particularly Shakespeare classes, were eagerly looked forward to and enjoyed the most.  He was respected, loved and adored by the students for his scholarship, gentle manners and friendly nature.

He formed a theatre group called the Curtain Club and almost every year, he used to stage plays. His colleagues and friends happily involved themselves in the various aspects of  production and made them a grand success. He was a talented artist and his drawings and cartoons appeared in several magazines, including Filmfare, Star and Style and Caravan. His regular column 'Down Memory Lane' written in a simple style, brought before the mind's eye the various facets of life in Madurai and some interesting and inspiring personalities like the Rev. Frederick Jacob, former Vice-principal of the American College,  known for his noble principles and eccentricities. J.V. loved chidlren the most and enjoyed their company. His Jeyabalan Stories with his own illustrations, published in a children's magazine, Gokulam, earned for him several admirers among children.

More than anything else, he was a fine humanbeing. In spite of all the talents he had, he never suffered from inflated ego. Everyone felt at home in his company. He was above the narrow artificial distinctions like religion, caste, community etc. The  beautifully drawn pictures of Gods like Jesus Christ and  Ganapathy adorn the drawing or puja room of many of his friends. Reflecting his concern for the needy, he used to celebrate his birthday or wedding day with the inmates of some orphanage or old-age home. It may be mentioned here that his eyes were donated for organ transplantation.

It is remarkable that during the  last days of his life, true to his character, he bore the suffering with stoic resignation, never giving in to self-pity. In his passing away, I have lost a good friend.