MLT Kannangara Memorial Gold Medal & Scholarship
Table of Contents
- Gold Medal Winners
- Establishment of Professor M L T Kannangara Scholarship
- Ways to Contribute to the Prof. MLT Kannangara Fund
- Professor M L T Kannangara Gold Medal
- Professor M L T Kannagrara Memorial Scholarship
- Professor M. L. T. Kannangara (1925-2017)
In memory of Prof. M LT Kannangara, CUFSAA-NA with the approval from the University, established an endowed award named Prof. MLT Kannangara Memorial Gold Medal for the Most Outstanding Physics Student of the Year for a first-class honors degree recipient. CUFSAA-NA is happy to announce that the first gold medal recipient will receive the medal at the University Convocation to be held on September 6, 2023.
We are glad to inform that CUFSAA Executive Committee officially approved the proposal to establish two Scholarships to be given to Physics Special students each year (a third-year scholarship and the continuation of the third-year scholarship during the fourth year). These scholarships will honor Prof. M L T Kannangara, a former head of the department of Physics at the University of Colombo (UoC) who was an excellent instructor and who was also instrumental in establishing the UoC-Uppsala joint research project among various other services to the Physics program at UoC.
Each year, the department selects one student to receive the scholarship (currently equivalent to USD 35 per month in SLR) for two years, i.e., until graduation. The first of these scholarships were awarded in 2022 and the second scholarship awardee is now selected from nine qualified applicants from the new batch selected for the Physics Special program in June of 2023.
Given the situation in Sri Lanka, most of those applicants are in dire need of financial support. If you are willing and able to support this project, please send your donation to the CUFSAA treasurer as indicated below.
CUFSAA-NA is preparing to award a Gold Medal and scholarship in the Memory of Professor M L T Kannangara.
The Professor M L T Kannangara Memorial Gold medal will be awarded to “The Most Outstanding Physics Student of the Year” and Professor M L T Kannagrara Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a Physics special (any concentration) student pursuing a four-year Special Degree Program offered by the Department of Physics, University of Colombo.
* If you would like to contribute to this Scholarship, you may do so via the PayPal button from the link below:
Alternatively, you may send us a check made payable to “CUFSAA-NA” and post to the CUFSAA Treasurer at the following address. Please write in the memo line of the check about your donation details and let us know your email address to send Donation Receipt.
Colombo University Faculty of Science Alumni Association c/o Ms. Sandya Liyanarachchi Treasurer – CUFSAA-NA 5870 Tara Hill Drive Dublin OH 43027 USA.
CUFSAA – Executive Committee
The Faculty of Science will present this Gold Medal at the annual Convocation. The recipient must have obtained a first class honors in any of the concentrations of the Physics Special degree program. In addition the recipient must have made a considerable contribution to the University at large, Department of Physics, or the student community.
The award will consist of Scholarship amount awarded to a Physics special (any concentration) student pursuing a four-year Special Degree Program offered by the Department of Physics, UoC. Scholarship recipient will be selected at the start of the third year and the scholarship will be offered up to two years (i.e., up to 24 months covering the third and fourth years). We will name the scholarship as the “Professor M L T Kannangara Memorial Scholarship” for students enrolled in the special degree in Physics Program.
Professor MLT Kannangara, Emeritus Professor of Physics and a former head of the Department of Physics at the University of Colombo, started his undergraduate degree at the University of Ceylon, at its Colombo premises and received a BSc in Physics in 1948. His academic career started when he was appointed to the staff as an Assistant Lecturer in the same year. He obtained his PhD from the University of Manchester concentrating on Cosmic Ray Physics and returned to his alma mater in the mid-1953 and spent his entire academic career retiring in 1990 as a professor of physics and the head of the department (1978-1984). He spent several stints of sabbatical leave including one at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. He was promoted to Associate Professor in Physics in 1970, to a full Professor in 1979, and to a Senior Professor in 1989. Against all odds, Professor Kannangara led a healthy research program throughout his career. From 1966-1972 together with his colleague late Professor PCB Fernando, he published two papers in the Journal of Geophysical Research (a leading journal on Geophysics) on geomagnetic micro-pulsations and frequency spectrum and another single-author article on polarization characterizations of micro pulsations from observations taken close to the geomagnetic equator, which runs through Sri Lanka. Coming back to Sri Lanka after a sabbatical at the Uppsala University in Sweden, he was instrumental in initiating an extremely successful international research collaboration with the Uppsala University colleagues in Sweden through the International Science program (ISP), which was the first ISP in Sri Lanka making the pathway including infrastructure to award local PhDs in physics in Sri Lanka at the University of Colombo benefitting many current and former members of the Department of Physics.
He served as the President, SLAAS Section E in 1963 and was elevated to be a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, London in 1971. He was the controlling Chief Examiner of the GCE A/L Examination Physics paper in 1974 and 1975. He actively participated in the advancement of science at all levels in Sri Lanka and was also a Founder Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka in 1977. In 1994, University of Colombo conferred Professor Kannangara an Honorary DSc.
Although, carrying out high quality scientific research in developing countries like Sri Lanka, especially in fundamental fields like physics, was considered almost impossible, Professor Kannangara led a healthy research program throughout his career. In the 1960’s, together with his colleagues, Professor Kannangara published a series of papers in the Journal of Geophysical Research, (a leading journal of Geophysical research) on geomagnetic micro-pulsations based on observations taken close to the geomagnetic equator, which runs through Sri Lanka. Professor Kannangara amply demonstrated that quality research carried out from Sri Lanka could be published in highly recognized international journals. Later, as Head of the Department of Physics, he was instrumental in initiating an extremely successful international research collaboration with Sweden. Many current and previous members of the Department of Physics have benefited from that collaboration. in addition many students benefited from the state of the art equipment received by department of Physics from Sweden.
Professor Kannangara was also one of the finest teachers of the Department of Physics. He took great care to prepare his own lecture notes from multiple sources and updated them as necessary when new scientific advances became available. Most importantly, he was eager to point out the underlying physics behind what he was teaching. He emphasized the importance of assessing the relative contributions from different physical parameters to a particular phenomenon and to evaluate what is relevant and what is not. He paid great attention to errors and error propagation, a critical aspect of experimental physics. Overall, he imparted both the methodology behind physics and the joy of doing physics to his students. Professor Kannangara always had the interests of his students in mind.