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In Memoriam: Arvind Marathay, 1933 - 2022

Dec 03, 2022

Arvind S. Marathay, Optica Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Optical Sciences at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, passed away at the age of 88. Marathay was an outstanding scientist, devoted teacher, and beloved mentor to countless students.

Marathay grew up in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, and his father was a medical practitioner who specialized in women’s health. Marathay was interested in lenses and physics at a young age and attended Jai Hind College as an undergraduate. He received his B.S. degree in physics in 1954 and pursued a master’s degree at Imperial College London. At the Imperial College London, Marathay had the opportunity to study under H.H. Hopkins and Walter Weinstein, both of whom influenced his career significantly. After receiving his master’s degree, he was invited to join the Ph.D. program at Boston University. Marathay received his Ph.D. in 1963 and worked in industry for a few years before joining the faculty of the Optical Sciences Center (OSC) at the University of Arizona in 1969. Marathay and his wife Sunita would become an integral part of the college’s community.

Marathay was known for his research in optical coherence and authored, Elements of Optical Coherence Theory, in 1982. He recognized a need for a textbook that introduced students to the basic elements of partial optical coherence. The origins of the textbook were lecture notes, homework problems, and literature references that Marathay had used in his courses.

Dr. Marathay published numerous articles in Optica Publishing Group journals and presented papers at Optica’s events. A full list of this published work is hosted on Optica Publishing Group at

Notable papers on this list include:

Matrix-Operator Description of the Propagation of Polarized Light through Cholesteric Liquid Crystals
Marathay, A. S.
Journal of the Optical Society of America 61(10) 1363-1372 

Globality and speed of optical parallel processors
Lohmann, Adolf W.; Marathay, Arvind S.
Applied Optics 28(18) 3838-3842 

Spatial correlation vortices in partially coherent light: theory
Maleev, Ivan D.; Palacios, David M.; Marathay, Arvind S.; Swartzlander, Grover A.
Journal of the Optical Society of America B 21(11) 1895-1900

In addition to his role as a faculty member, Marathay served as the Chairman of the Tucson Section of OSA from 1978-79 and was made a Fellow of Optica (formerly OSA) in 1977. Marathay was active in the scientific and Indian communities in Tucson and OSC throughout his career. He retired from the University in 2002. Marathay was highly regarded in the optics community and was a generous donor to the College of Optical Sciences. He and Sunita established the Marathay Family Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship in Optical Sciences. Since 2010, the award has allowed undergraduate students with a demonstrated interest in optics, quantum optics, or optical engineering to attend the College of Optical Sciences. The scholarship is designed to provide an opportunity to need-based students, with preference given to students from India or of Indian descent.

After his retirement, Marathay enjoyed spending time with his family, visiting his son, daughter, and grandchildren. Professor Arvind Marathay will be remembered for his commitment to teaching and unique capacity to make complex subjects understandable. His approachable manner and ability to inspire his students to pursue their passion will have a lasting impact on the scientific community at OSC.

Optica and the scientific community mourn the loss of Arvind S. Marathay.


Awards & Distinctions

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