A leading Eelam Tamil academic and former vice-chancellor of the University of Jaffna Professor Kanthia Kunaratnam passed away this morning in Colombo.
The professor was known for his devotion to his students, simplicity, down to earth nature and integrity.
A short biography of Professor Kanthia Kunaratnam published on the Jaffna University website is as follows:
Professor Kanthia Kunaratnam was a physicist, academic and former vice-chancellor of the University of Jaffna. Professor K. Kunaratnam joined the University of Ceylon, Colombo in 1954 and graduated in 1958 with a first class honours BSc degree in physics.
After graduation Professor K. Kunaratnam worked at the University of Ceylon, Colombo and University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. Later, he read at Imperial College London between October 1960 and July 1963, and obtained a DIC and a PhD.
Professor K. Kunaratnam was a visiting fellow and lecturer in geophysics at the Department of Geology, University of Durham between January 1971 and September 1971. He was also a visiting fellow at the Department of Physics, Queen Elizabeth College from October 1971 to December 1971.
Professor K. Kunaratnam was appointed as the Founder Head of the Department of Physics at the Jaffna Campus of the University of Sri Lanka in April 1975. He remained head of the department until October 1980. He was a visiting lecturer at the School of Physics, University of Science, Malaysia between Jan 1981 and October 1981. He then returned to the University of Jaffna and resumed being Head of the Department of Physics, serving until February 1985. He was a visiting fellow and professor at the Department of Geophysics, University of Edinburgh between October 1988 and August 1989. He was a visiting fellow at the Department of Earth Sciences, Bullard Laboratories, University of Cambridge between Sept 1989 and October 1989.
Professor K. Kunaratnam was the Founder Head of Department of Computer Science at University of Jaffna between January 1991 and November 1993. He then served as Head of the Department of Physics from March 1994 to April 1994.
Professor K. Kunaratnam served as the dean of Faculty of Science twice, from January 1977 to May 1978 and January 1985 to March 1988. He served as the vice-chancellor of university of Jaffna between April 1994 and February 1997. Professor K. Kunaratnam retired in April 2000. He was serving as a emeritus professor at the Department of Physics till his demise.