P. C. Varghese — A Distinguished Teacher and an Established Author

Shri Puthenveetil Chandapillai Varghese, a UNESCO Chief Technical Advisor, has over 60 years of teaching experience at several premier institutes including IITs. Besides, he has been a consultant to various companies in India and abroad.

As a teacher, he worked as one of the founding faculty members of three well-known universities—IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and University of Moratuwa, Colombo. He is one of the first generation faculties who laid a solid foundation for the Department of Civil Engineering (IITM). Professor Varghese had a postgraduate degree in Soil Mechanics from Harvard University, the USA and another in Reinforced Concrete Design from the London Imperial College.

Schooling and Basic Engineering Education

Dr. P C Varghese was born on 3rd Mach 1921 at Mavelikara, Kerala. He did B.Sc. from Loyola College, Madras (with specialisation in Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry) in the year 1941. The consistent urge for the knowledge made him join B.Sc. Degree (Civil Engineering) at College of Engineering, Trivandrum, which he completed in 1945.

Professor Varghese joined Building Research Station, Roorkee as a Scientist in 1947. He did receive the Scholarship from the Ministry of Irrigation and Power, Government of India, to study Soil Mechanics and Earth Dams. In the year 1948, he left for MS Degree (Civil Engineering) at Harvard University, USA and then also joined M.Eng. Degree in Soil Mechanics at Harvard University in 1949 again.  During his course, he got a chance to work with Professor Karl Terzhaghi. He underwent a Training with US Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Valley Authority that is widely known to the engineering world because of their variety of publications in Civil/Structural Engineering.

In 1952, he joined IIT Kharagpur to work with Professor Lyse, Head (Civil Engineering) to study concrete structures. He was soon deputed on a UNESCO Fellowship to study concrete with Prof. A. L. Baker, at Imperial College, London, UK. In 1954, Prof. Varghese did his Ph.D. at IIT-Kharagpur. After completion of Ph.D., he preferred to join the institute rather than Industry. 

Professional Experience

He has excellent field experience as Assistant Soil Specialist, Hirakud Dam Project in Odisha, Construction Engineer at IIT Kharagpur and UNCHS Advisor to Buildings Department, Sri Lanka.

He worked as one of the founding staff members of IIT Kharagpur and a Construction Engineer for campus development works. In 1961, he joined at IIT-Madras (Chennai) as Head, Civil Engineering department. During his stay with IIT-M, he obtained German Government funding and technical support to develop the Structural Engineering Laboratory and Hydraulics Laboratory. He also encouraged and groomed many faculty members and graduates into leadership roles.

He served Moratuwa University, Colombo (Sri Lanka) from 1972 to 1982. He led a team of international experts to work on several building projects with the UNCHS and the Ministry of Works and Housing. In 1983, he returned from Sri Lanka and settled down in Chennai. 

Textbooks by Varghese

As an author, he has written several textbooks in the field of Civil Engineering after his retirement while working as Honorary Visiting Professor at the College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University, Chennai. He has published nine textbooks with PHI Learning

  1. Limit State Design of Reinforced Concrete 
  2. Maintenance, Repair & Rehabilitation And Minor Works Of Buildings
  3. Foundation Engineering
  4. Engineering Geology For Civil Engineers
  5. Building Construction
  6. Building Materials
  7. Design Of Reinforced Concrete Foundations
  8. Design Of Reinforced Concrete Shells And Folded Plates
  9. Advanced Reinforced Concrete Design

With six decades of professional experience, all the books written by Dr. Varghese is a blend of theory, practice, and simple tools and tips.

He studied Shell Structures at the Imperial College, London and also taught the subject at IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras. As a result, he wrote a book on this complex subject in a simple language, with less mathematics and more concepts and applications. The book covers vast panorama from the historical development of shells to modern theories and the typical design of folded plates and shells. Dr. P. Mannar Jawahar, Former Vice-chancellor, Anna University, appreciated his efforts. The examples in this book were based on the “Notes for a Short Course on Concrete Shells and Folded Plates for Practicing engineers”. Students, professors, and practitioners appreciate the books written by Dr. Varghese as it contains many practical aspects. 

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