Tamil Diplomat

Professor. S. Mahalingam: A productive scholar, a gifted and devoted teacher

The Last rites of the famed Engineer and Professor Emeritus of Peradeniya University, S.Mahalingam was held at his home in his native Alaveddyin Jaffna yesterday and his remains were cremated Mallakam Hindu crematorium.

A large number of people including family members, relatives and local residents as well his former colleagues, students, members of the engineering fraternity and academia from Peradeniya, Colombo, Batticaloa and Jaffna, paid their last respects participating in the funeral of the Professor who breathed his last at the Northern Central Hospital in the wee hours of day before yesterday, Tuesday. 

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Professor Mahalingam was born in Alaveddy, Jaffna on 16 January 1926, and moved to Malaysia due to his family circumstances. He obtained his primary and secondary education at Kuala Lumpur Maxwell School and Malaysia Victoria College. When twenty years of age, he returned to Sri Lanka for his University education and joined Sri Lanka Technical College in Colombo in 1946, where he obtained his first Engineering degree. He obtained his Doctorate degree in Engineering from England’s Sheffield University in 1956.

When the Colombo Engineering Faculty  which evolved  in the later years into the Engineering Faculty of Peradeniya University was first established in 1950, he joined it to commence his Lecturer career. Later in the 1970s, he continued this, as a founder Lecturer of the Engineering Stream of the University of Peradeniya.  When he was awarded his doctorate (DSc) by the famous University of London, nobody else at the University of Peradeniya was in possession of such high level Doctorate.

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The researches undertaken by Professor Mahalingam in the field of Mechanical Engineering doctrine of Vibration (“Vibration of Branched System: A displacement Excitation Approach”) drew the attention of many towards him. Especially, his researches on Holzer Method for balancing in vibration control, were highly acclaimed. This research paper was published in the Journal of Applied Mechanics in the year 1958. Even after that, Professor Mahalingam continued his researches in this field for several decades.

When he was to be rewarded for his excellence in London, he requested that one of the three jet engines he had seen in one of the factories, be gifted to University of Peradeniya , in lieu of the award. Although he was unable to send this engine to Peradeniya while he was in London, he was able to bring it down to Peradeniya, after returning to Peradeniya. This engine could be seen at the Engineering Faculty of the University of Peradeniya, even today.

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Professor Mahalingam maintained discipline at high level at his lectures. He was so strict and concerned about the education of the students to a level, which prompted the students to say that it is better not to attend his lectures if you cannot go at the stipulated time. He expected the students to be dedicated to their academic activities. Unassuming and self-controlled , and affectionate towards students, he was a Professor who had won great  admiration among the students of all races of the University of Peradeniya.

Late Ms. Devaki, the relic of Professor Mahalingam was also a professor at the University of Peradeniya.

Related News: Renowned engineer Professor. S. Mahalingam passes away in Jaffna

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