Bimla Buti




A Tribute to (Late) Prof. Bimla Buti (19 September 1933 – 24 February 2024)

From: Gurbax Singh Lakhina (gslakhina at

With profound sadness, I wish to inform the Plasma Physics community that Prof. Bimla Buti, an internationally renowned plasma physicist and a face of women scientists all over the world passed away on 24 February 2024 after a brief illness. For the past 4 years she was living with her niece Veena and Venkat (Veena’s husband) Ramani in Ahmedabad. Both Veena and Venkat were not only taking good care of Prof. Buti but also helping her in the Buti Foundation activities. I met with Prof. Buti last year in Ahmedabad and very excitedly she explained to me the new initiatives she was planning for the young scientists under Buti Foundation. Her death is a great loss not only to the family and friends but to the entire plasma physics community!

Bimla was born on 19 September 1933 in Multan, undivided India. Her parents were Bodh Raj and Jamuna Devi Buti. She had her education in Delhi, obtaining a Bachelor of Science (Honors) and a Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Delhi. She got admission to the University of Chicago for doctoral studies and obtained a Ph.D. degree in plasma physics in 1962 under the supervision of Prof. S. Chandrasekhar, a noble laureate in Physics. She joined the University of Delhi as a teaching faculty and taught for about 2 years. She went back to USA to work at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland.

She came back to India in 1968 and joined the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi). I was doing my Master in Physics at IIT Delhi at that time. Prof. Buti gave a course on plasma physics. The whole class was impressed with her way of teaching and explaining the fundamentals of plasmas. This was my first interaction with Prof. Buti. I was fortunate to get my Ph.D. degree from IIT Delhi in 1972 under the supervision of Prof. Buti. She was not only an excellent mentor, but an idol to whom I always looked up to for inspiration and motivation or when in despair! During the student era, I had a fair amount of despair, so much so that I even seriously thought of giving up my quest for a PhD degree. At that crucial stage, Prof. Buti’s sound and practical advice brought me out of this and put me back on track! My association with Prof. Buti is more than 50 years old. During this period, we published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers either jointly or with other authors/coauthors.

Prof. Bimla Buti joined the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) Ahmedabad as Associate Professor in 1971 at the invitation of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the then Director of PRL. She retired from PRL as Dean of Faculty in 1993. During her tenure at PRL, she established herself as a world leader in space plasma physics in the area of nonlinear plasma waves, solitons and chaos and plasma turbulence. After her retirement, she continued to carry out research in India and abroad. She spent four years at the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA working on cometary plasmas, waves and chaos after her retirement. Slowly her interest shifted to social and philanthropic work, and she founded Buti Foundation in 2003 to help the young scientists in their careers, and to promote awareness about healthcare and computer education among young people and senior citizens. More details about the activities of the Buti Foundation can be found at

Prof. Bimla Buti was a dedicated scientist and an excellent teacher. The research work done by her was of the highest quality and brought her not only worldwide recognition but many awards as well. Prof. Buti was elected as the first Indian woman Physicist Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in 1981. She was Fellow of The Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS), The National Academy of Sciences (India) (NASI), and the American Physical Society (APS). She played a leading role in the formation of the Plasma Science Society of India (PSSI) and served as its President during 1992-1993. She organized many Spring Colleges on Plasma Physics at the Abdus Salaam International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy as the course Director of Plasma Physics, during 1985-2003. The purpose of the Spring Colleges was to help scientists from developing countries to interact and establish contacts with established plasma physics experts from around the world. To mention a few awards bestowed upon Prof. Bimla Buti, she was given the Vikram Sarabhai Award for Planetary Sciences (1977), INSA-Vainu Bappu Award for Astrophysics, 1994, US Medal for Fundamental Contributions in the Physics of Nonlinear Waves and Chaos (2010), NASI Prof. Megh Nad Saha Memorial Award (2013), NASI A.C. Banerji Memorial Award (2017) and the IPA R.D. Birla Award (2020).

Prof. Bimla Buti did not marry but dedicated her entire life to science and social work. She inculcated the values of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to science in all her students. She was very independent in her thoughts and actions. Even after her retirement, she lived alone in New Delhi and carried out Buti Foundation’s activities. She moved to Ahmedabad during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Prof. Bimla Buti will be remembered not only as a great plasma scientist but also as a wonderful human being! Her scientific and social work will be a source of inspiration to the present young generation. We pray to God to grant peace to her soul!

Gurbax Singh Lakhina
Retired. Former Director of Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai
(Retrieved from Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) Section

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past President of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (1991-1994)
  • Past Vice-President of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (1988-1991)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (2000-2003)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (1997-2000)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (1994-1997)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (1985-1988)
  • Past Member of Division E Sun and Heliosphere (until 2024)
  • Past Member of Commission 49 Interplanetary Plasma & Heliosphere (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Division II Sun & Heliosphere (until 2012)

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