Professor Kanthia Kunaratnam, born on April 30, 1934 and died September 9, 2015, was a Sri Lankan Tamil physicist, academic and former vice-chancellor of the University of Jaffna.
Kanthia joined the University of Ceylon, Colombo in 1954 and graduated in 1958 with a first class honours B.Sc. degree in physics.
After university Kunaratnam worked at the University of Ceylon, Colombo and University of Ceylon, Peradeniya.
He studied at Imperial College London between October 1960 and July 1963, obtaining a DIC and a PhD degree.
Kanthia was visiting fellow and lecturer in geophysics at the Department of Geology, University of Durham between January 1971 and September 1971.
He was visiting fellow at the Department of Physics, Queen Elizabeth College from October 1971 to December 1971.
Kanthia was appointed Founder Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Sri Lanka Jaffna campus in April 1975.
He remained head of the department until October 1980. He was visiting lecturer at the School of Physics, University of Science, Malaysia between Jan 1981 and October 1981.
Kanthia then returned to the University of Jaffna and resumed being Head of the Department of Physics, serving until February 1985.
He was visiting fellow and professor at the Department of Geophysics, University of Edinburgh between October 1988 and August 1989.
He was visiting fellow at the Department of Earth Sciences, Bullard Laboratories, University of Cambridge between Sept 1989 and October 1989.
Kanthia was Head of the Department of Computer Science at the university between January 1991 and November 1993.
He then served as Head of the Department of Physics from March 1994 and April 1994.
Kanthia served as dean of the Faculty of Science twice, from January 1977 to May 1978 and January 1985 to March 1988.
He served as vice-chancellor of the university between April 1994 and February 1997.
Kanthia retired in April 2000. He served as an emeritus professor at the Department of Physics till his death.
Kanthia was elected fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1998 and fellow and chartered Physicist of the Institute of Physics in 1999.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Jaffna in 2001.
Kanthia Kunaratnam died on 9 September 2015 in Colombo at age 81.