Prof. Arvind Kumar (b: 15.10.1943) did Ph.D. (Physics), Univ.of Bombay in 1969 at TIFR. After two years of post-doctoral work at CERN Geneva and Univ.of London, he taught at the University Dept. of Physics, Mumbai for about 12 years. He joined HBCSE (TIFR) in 1984 and was appointed its Director on 1.10.1994. He was Senior Professor and Centre Director of HBCSE at the time of his retirement on October 31, 2008.
He has published research and supervised Ph.D.theses in a range of areas: particle theory, quantum black holes, atomic & optical physics, mathematical sociology and physics education. He has authored/coauthored a number of curricular, co-curricular and expository books at different levels. His book Chaos, Fractals and Self-Organization brought out by NBT has been translated in Marathi and Bengali. As part of the Centre's science popularization effort, he guided and co-authored the initial version of a comprehensive exhibition on history of science "Science-A Human Saga". He wrote and devised two notable commemorative radio programmes: "A Grain of Sand" on Albert Einstein, and "Compliments to Complementarity" on Niels Bohr.
His educational work spans a wide spectrum: from university through college to secondary school stages. He helped establish a Ph.D. School in science education at HBCSE – a unique research school that is rooted in the intellectual traditions of both natural and behavioural sciences and draws on the Centre's extensive field work. He was a member of the National Steering Committee for formulating the National Curriculum Framework-2005 and he chaired the Focus Group on Teaching of Science set up as part of this effort.
He played a central role in launching the science Olympiad movement in India in 1997. He also contributed to the the KVPY programme of IISC., Bangalore for many years. He conceived a major new programme of HBCSE: 'National Initiative on Undergraduate Science' in 2004 and, in continuation of the same, played a significant role in the initial phase of the setting up of the premier new institutes of science education and research at Bhubaneswar and Mumbai (NISER and CBS of the Department of Atomic Energy) aimed at attracting meritorious students to basic science careers
He received the Godavari Award in the category Gyan from Kusumagraj Pratishthan in 2006. He is also the recipient of the Indian Nuclear Society's Science Communication Award 2003 and the Third World Academy of Sciences' Regional Prize in Education in 2008. He was President of the 41st Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Vidnyan Adhiveshan, Vani in 2006. During his tenure as Centre Director, HBCSE received the 1999 NCSTC award of the Govt. of India for science popularization among children. He was also awarded 'Padma Shri' in the year 2010. He is Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India.
After his retirement in 2008, he is mainly involved in teaching theoretical physics at the university level.