Jagdish Mathur was born in Meerut, India in the 1930s. He completed his early university education in India at The Muslim University of Aligarh. He worked under Professor P.S. Gill, a famous Cosmic Ray Physicist, for his M.Sc. before joining the D.A.V. College, Dehra-Dun, where he taught for three years.
In 1958 he gained a Humbolt Fellowship to the Christian Albrechts Univeritat zu Kiel. Here, supervised by Professor E.R. Bagge, he gained his Ph.D. for work on thermal neutrons, an area in which he continued to work until his retirement. In the course of this work he designed the first parallel plate spark counter for thermal neutrons.
From 1965-68 he was Head of the “Isotope Separation and Mass Spectrography Group” at the “Institute for Pure and Applied Nuclear Physics, C.A. University, Kiel”.
In 1968 he joined the Physics Department of the then Wollongong University College/ UNSW. As the sole nuclear physicist in the Department he was able to develop new lines of research and became interested in Fission Physics. While remaining an academic at the University, Jagdish joined the Physics Division of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission Research Establishment (AAECRE), Lucas Heights, and built up a research group in the areas of Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Reactor Physics at Wollongong.
Over the years many students worked under Jagdish’ supervision using HIFAR and other ANSTO/AAECRE facilities. During the 1970s Jagdish and his student John Caruana collaborated with John Boldeman’s Physics group at the AAEC in measurements on the Van de Graaff accelerator of fission-fragment angular distributions following neutron fission through sub-threshold resonances in Thorium.
Jagdish’ research from the 1970s until his retirement was mainly directed towards neutron beam studies. including ion implantation for the production of photovoltaic cells. Notable work included “Neutron Capture Mechanisms in the Threshold Region” with Barry John Allen,  and “The Calculation of Prompt Fission Neutrons Capture Cross Sections Based on Nuclear Optical Model” with Stephen Gower, . In 1989, Jagdish changed his research interest from basic nuclear physics to the application of nuclear methods to medical research leading in 1992 to Martin Carolan’s and Steven Wallace’s research theses into Boron Neutron Capture Therapy.
During the course of his work Jagdish travelled to Iran in 1975 to advise the Imperial Atomic Energy Commission, on collimator and filters and filter design for neutron scattering experiments on their research nuclear reactor . He also established several long term collaborations with the international institutions:-The High Flux Reactor Division at Petten, The Netherlands, the Paul Scherrer Institute at Villigen, Switzerland, The Institut fur Medical Radiobiology in Zurich, Switzerland and the universities of Dresden, Essen and Kiel, Germany.
In the early 1990s Jagdish (together with Bill Zealey and Peter Metcalfe) established the Bachelor of Medical Physics Degree at the University of Wollongong. The later addition of Anatoly Rozenfeld to the Department’s staff in 1993 led to the formation of the highly successful Centre of Medical Radiation Physics. Jagdish participated in attracting an NHMRC three year (1996-1998) grant that established the Centre’s research activities. Assessors comments included “….the proposal is quite innovative and could have considerable scientific potential…. . I felt this may develop into very exciting project”. The Centre has more than lived up to this expectation. Without the active support of many of Jagdish’ contacts at ANSTO, the Illawarra Cancer Care Centre, St Georges Hospital and Gammasonics these developments could not have occurred.
Since joining the Physics Department in 1968 until his retirement Jagdish was involved in curriculum development and teaching of most of the Department’s subjects, particularly those relating to nuclear and medical physics. He played a major role in setting up and the teaching laboratories and updating the second and third year laboratories. These remain some of the best teaching laboratories in Australia.
In 2001 and 2005 Jagdish co-authored a high school physics textbook Physics in Context: The Forces of Life (Oxford University Press) with Bill Zealey, Chris Wiececk, Marge Hyonski, and Ian Tatnell, making major contributions to the nuclear and medical physics chapters.
Jagdish always enjoyed an excellent rapport with undergraduates, postgraduates and members of staff. He thoroughly enjoyed his work, particularly in fostering an interest in science in students. Jagdish had an open-door-policy, helping students to understand physics as well as to overcome their personal problems. One student commented that “ Jagdish took on the role of mentor and father figure, making sure that I was OK each day and that life wasn’t getting me down.” His enthusiasm for explaining and exploring physics and his generous approach to his students has deeply influenced the lives and careers of many of his students.
Jagdish also played an important role in the local community through his membership the Corrimal Rotary Club. The many requests to talk about Nuclear Option, Green House Effect, and disposal of Nuclear Waste provided him with the opportunity to promote the Department of Physics and the University of Wollongong.
It is 50 years since Jagdish joined the emerging Physics Department at the Wollongong University College/ UNSW. As it matured into the School of Physics he played a formative role in developing the Centre of Medical Radiation Physics and celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary just a few months prior to his passing.
Jagdish is survived by his wife Jutta, six children and 15 grandchildren. We will remember Jagdish as a mentor and a friend to whom both staff and students are indebted for his kindness, compassion and teaching.