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Y. T. Thathachari (1929-1993)

Y. T. Thathachari, known to many of his friends as YT, died in Madras, India on November 23, 1993. A graduate student in physics at the Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore, India, YT developed a simple method for making a curved crystal to focus X-rays and produced an X-ray Microscope; this work was mentioned in P. Kirkpatrick's article in "Handbuch der Physik". He worked on the structure of collagen in G. N. Ramachandran's laboratory (University of Madras, India), and on the structure of keratin with A. Rich at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and E. Bell at Stanford (USA).

At Stanford he developed an interest in electron microscopy. From 1962 to 1966 he worked as an electron microscopy specialist at the University of Madrid, India. He returned to Stanford in 1966 where he remained until 1993, studying melanin, L-DOPA, silicon dioxide, gallium arsenide, and amorphous materials. He conducted early EXAFS studies of melanin and tyrosinase, and developed disease diagnostic programs with M. S. Blois. He retired and returned to India in 1993.

YT was a Sanskrit scholar and teacher, had a keen interest in Kirlian photography (he showed me very interesting pictures of cut leaf images), and together with his wife Madhuti, produced and participated in many musical events and dance dramas in their Bay area community. He was a scholar of Indian scriptures, well read in both eastern and western philosophies and literatures. He has argued that "practicing science is not a denial of faith. In fact, relying on reason on which science is based is itself an act of faith." He was a very caring and gentle person who will be fondly remembered by many who came in contact with him and he will be missed by many crystallographic friends around the world.

R. Parthasarathy
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, NY, USA