Prof R N Biswas came to IIIT-H in 2008 and in 2009 he left , but will be coming as a guest faculty for one more semester. The one year for which he devoted his time to IIIT-H , he helped change a lot of how ECE is and how it should be taught at UG level. Though he is around 70 yrs old , he brought in fresh thoughts and the latest ways of how ECE curriculum should be designed and conducted.
His most visible contribution has been to establish a new lab for courses like BEC and DLP. This lab is a single hall with good quality oscilloscope, function generator , power supply and a Digital Test Kit (designed by him). But what I feel his most important contribution of his has been to attack the whole philosophy behind the courses like Electronic workshop 1/2 etc( which were totally unstructured and conducted in ad-hoc fashion) though this particular one is not so visible, but I believe that he put in a lot of effort and energy to change the iron clad thinking which was considered so holy before he came. He must have organized a lot of discussions and meetings to design a new curriculum and so finally from this year onwards fresh UG students will find a changed curriculum in place. I am sure that now students will find more interest and value in the courses of the new curriculum and the credit of this should definitely go to RNB.
Now a bit of what I knew about him. The first thing that turns me on is that he is PhD from Univ of Calif. Berkely that too in 1960's. There is no doubt in my mind about how a top-notch place UCB is and I am sure it would have been legendary place in his time to get a PhD from. Then he worked for some years in US itself and after that he returned to teach at IIT-K. He was at IIT-K till 1992 and during this time he headed several posts like HOD of EC Dept. and several others including Chairman of JEE in 1987. I would love to hear from someone who gave JEE that year. After IIT-K he became director of CEERI Pilani, established a company , worked in some major VLSI company fro some years. In 2002 he joined DAIICT and worked there for 5 years. He came to IIIT-H in 2008 and from 2009 he will be joining NIIT Univ Neemrana.
No doubt IIIT-H has some really good Prof. who have long chequered teaching career like Prof PRK Rao, Prof B Yagnanarayana, Prof VU Reddy. All these three are one of the best teachers in their field atleast in India and have done work which had definite positive effect in their respective areas. But these three are like big giants(no pun intended) which a normal mortal like us cannot approach easily and be comfortable with. With Prof RNB the case is different. He is also one of the giants. In fact he is totally accessible , he is a person who likes to talk(this is what I guess) and he can talk about a lot of things but his favorite items are Electronics, VLSI, . At times you can find him speaking like a real visionary about Engineering education. sometimes he also talks about politics(ie India & world, Budget etc !!). He is a hard core fan of Lawn Tennis and vividly follows all Grand Slam Tournaments. He loves non-veg food.
One very striking fact about him is that even though he is about 70 years old, he is more active ( physically and mentally ) than faculty members who are in their 40's. He is full of energy and enthusiasm. He is a strict disciplinary and I don't think anybody dare to be complicity in front of him. If you do something sloppily , you should be expecting a through dressing down even though you might be a student , a T.A. , a lab assistant or even a faculty member!!!(well I have been at his receiving ends for the first 2 cases and have been eye witness for the others).
In short I find that his overall personality is just a huge iceberg of which I had the rare privilege to knew a speck of it. It is such a humbling experience to be able to say that I knew one such person who has done so much and changed the lifes of who know how many peoples.