Punjab well known for valor, agriculture and industrial revolutions and for juggad technology has been strengthened by the vision and mission of great scientists and engineers of its land and Dr Raghbir Singh Khandpur was also one among such personalities. Dr Khandpur was a genius student and topped the state in matric and was highly qualified. Dr. RS Khandpur born at Sadarabad in Pakistan in 1942 breathed his last on November 19, 2019 at the age of 77 years and is referred as a science man of Punjab due to his significant contribution towards popularization and communication of science in the state. Dr Raghbir Singh Khandpur was a brilliant and eminent scientist of rare caliber with several books and awards to his credit.
A thorough gentleman, he belonged to a simple family of Jandiala Guru, near Amritsar. He topped the BSc examination of the then largest university of Punjab in the 1960s, and rose to dizzy heights of his career by the sheer dint of hard work. He left no stone unturned to make Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala, a temple to science. Young and budding scientists should learn from his achievements and lifestyle. He chaired various bodies of the Department of Science and Technology. He was also instrumental in the setting up of Science City, Kapurthala. Dr Khandpur was instrumental in the setting up of the Science City and served as its Director General for 12 years. He joined the Science City in 2002 and was responsible for the structure and vision of the establishment when it was inaugurated in 2005. Before setting up of the Science City, he visited 50 to 60 science establishments of the world. Science displaying machines and exhibitions like transparent man, 3-D laser show and a state-of-the-art climate change theatre are some of the examples of the various feats created at science city under his guidance and supervision in order to inculcate scientific temper in the students. According to Dr. Rajiv Grover, Director, Science City, Kapurthala, “Dr Khandpur transformed a landscape of mud and mounds into the Science City. He has set an example for scientists in the state to emulate.”
Dr. Khandpur was a former Director General (DG) of the Centre for Electronics Design and Technology and Pushpa Gujral Science City in Kapurthala. He has served as scientist for 24 years at CSIO, Chandigarh as head of Medical Instruments Division and also as head of the Electronics Division. He was also the founder director of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in Mohali. Dr. Kahndpur was project leader of India’s first linear accelerator machine for cancer treatment which was installed in PGI Chandigarh in 1989. He also coordinated the first national telemedicine project linking PGI Changigarh and AIIMS, New Delhi. He has authored 10 books of international repute and is a holder of seven patents for innovative designs. He has published over 60 research and review papers. Dr RS Khandpur was awarded lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in the field of science and technology in the National Punjab Education Summit and Awards, 2013, function held at Chandigarh on November 15. The award was presented by AICTE chairman Dr SS Mantha in the presence of Punjab Technical University vice-chancellor Dr Rajneesh Arora. In 2017, Dr Khandpur was given the National Award for Outstanding Efforts in S&T Communication. He had a significant contribution in the first cancer diagnostic machine of the country. These visionary people put sincere efforts towards the development of state as an inclusive place of edutainment for people of all ages, social background and levels of education. However, in the changing scenario of present civilization in the state going away not only from higher education in general and science and technological education in particular and moving away towards green pastures in foreign countries at a very early age, the vision of these great personalities towards the developed and progressing Punjab is facing a great threat.