Dr. R. G. Lagu


In Memorium - Dr. Raghunath G. Lagu - September 29, 1932 – November 1, 2017

Dr. Raghunath Gopal Lagu joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1957. He received a doctorate in Physics from the Bombay University for his thesis titled "Positronium Lifetimes in Some Molecular Media" (1974). He was one of the founder members of the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai which began as a unit of the TIFR in 1974. He along with Prof's. B. M. Udgoankar and V. G. Kulkarni was instrumental in chalking out the road map for HBCSE. In the initial phases of the development of HBCSE, Dr. Lagu along with other HBCSE colleagues was involved in conducting rural education programmes at Khiroda near Jalgaon aimed at capacity building of rural school science teachers. One of the aims of this engagement was the development of school science experiments and demonstrations for students and teachers that could be conducted with the help of locally available resources and materials.

Dr. Lagu was a prolific writer and was instrumental in giving a boost to the materials development effort at HBCSE. Many of the early books of HBCSE for children were either authored, co-authored or edited by Dr. Lagu. These books published by Oxford University Press ran into a number of editions and were translated into many Indian languages. Some of these books are;

  • Novel Experiments, Lagu, R. G., and Mhetre, S. B. (1977);

  • Experiments are fun, Lagu, R. G. (Eds.) (1984);

  • How and Why in Science : Junior Series Book 1, Lagu, R. G. (Eds.) (1981);

  • How and Why in Science : Junior Series Book 2, Lagu, R. G. (Eds.) (1981);

  • How and Why in Science : Senior Series Book 1, Lagu, R. G. (Eds., 1982);

  • How and Why in Science : Senior Series Book 2, Lagu, R. G. (Eds.,1982);

  • Ganitachya Gujagoshti, Lagu, R.G., and Tarey, D.T. (1987);

  • Khudkan Hasu, Granthghar, Lagu, R.G. (1985).

According to Prof. Arvind Kumar (ex-Centre Director of HBCSE) these books for children were perhaps among the best of their kind written in our country (Reference: Current Science, http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/108/03/0445.pdf). Two of these books, were awarded the 'Haribhau Motey Award' in 1986 (R. G. Lagu and S. B. Mhetre, for "Abhinav Prayog” in Marathi) and 1988 (R. G. Lagu and D. T. Tarey for "Gunitachya Gujagoshti” in Marathi). All the books mentioned above have had a vast reach in sales figures and have contributed a great deal to popularising science and mathematics in the country. These books written in the late 70's and 80's are still popular and have greatly added to the prestige and recognizability of HBCSE. The Marathi version of “How and Why in Science” named “Kuthoohal” has received the Maharashtra Rajya Wangmay Puraskar 1982-83 under the category general knowledge/hobbies and science (August 1985). His poetry collection "Khudkan Hasu" received the Mahashtra State Government's "Aarti Prabhu" award. Dr Lagu was also associated with Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Granthali, National School of Banking, and Krishnamurti Foundation of India and was fond of cricket and music. Dr. Lagu's contributions to science education in India and the legacy of his writings continue to enlighten the generations to come.