The late Professor Daulat Singh Kothari was an outstanding teacher, a great educationist, a renowned physicist and a highly successful organizer. Born on 6th July 1906 at Udaipur, Rajasthan, he had his early education in his hometown and then in Indore. After passing the Intermediation Examination, he completed B.Sc in 1926 and M.Sc (Physics) in 1928 from AllahabadUniversity. It is here that he came under the influence of Professor M. N. Saha, who recognized the talent of young Kothari. He obtained his Ph.D degree from Cambridge, U.K. in 1933. After returning to India, Professor Kothari joined DelhiUniversity in 1934 as Reader and Head of the Department of Physics. He became Professor in 1942.His active association with the University continued for almost six decades and it was primarily because of his able leadership that the Department succeeded in acquiring a prominent place on the scientific map of the world.
He was appointed Scientific Adviser to the Minister of Defence in 1948, (Prof.D.S. Kothari) a position he continued to hold until 1961. In 1961, he was appointed (1906-1993) Chairman of the University Grants Commission.
He helped to raise the quality and level of facilities for advanced studies and research in Indian Universities. The Report of the Indian Education Commission (1964-66) of which he was the Chairman, was hailed as a landmark in educational reforms in India and other developing Countries. Professor Kothari was keen on identifying talented students and nurturing them. The National Science Talent Search Programme and the subsequent National Talent Search Programme started by the National Council for Educational Research and Training owe their origin to his vision. He took personal interest to meet children on the National Science Day (February 28) and inspire them to pursue Science.
Professor Kothari was Chancellor of the JawaharlalNehruUniversity for two terms (1982-92). He served the IndianNationalScienceAcademy in various capacities and was its President from 1973 to 1974. He received several honors and awards, and honorary degrees from several Indian Universities. Among these were the Meghnath Saha Medal of the Indian National Science Academy and the National Award of the National federation of UNESCO Associations in India. He was Foreign Member of the then USSRAcademy of Sciences. The Government of India honored him with Padma Bhushan in 1962 and Padma Vibhushan in 1973.
On his retirement from the University in 1971, he was appointed Emeritus Professor and he continued to maintain close contact with students and teachers. He spent the later years of his life working relentlessly to achieve a synthesis of Science, education and moral values. He also wrote and lectured extensively on these topics in the hope of ushering in a brighter and peaceful future for the coming generations almost till his death on 4th February 1993. His life was devoted to the pursuit of knowledge in its widest sense, and to the country’s educational system to enable others to do likewise.