Trilochan Padhi

Born December 3, 1939

Trilochan Padhi, age 73, passed away on Saturday, August 31, six years after having been incapacitated by a sudden hemorrhagic stroke. Trilochan was a loving father, a brilliant geophysicist, and a loyal friend to many.

After graduating first in his class at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, India, Trilochan came to the United States in 1962 to pursue a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He then joined Shell Oil Company in 1969 as a geophysicist, where he is remembered by colleagues as “one of the most able and clear-thinking scientists of his generation.” Trilochan made “countless significant contributions to Shell’s success,” and coworkers say that his work and insights “formed the foundation of geophysics at Shell.” Just as often as friends remember Trilochan’s genius, however, they remember his humility, describing him as “deeply thoughtful, caring, and compassionate” and as a “kind and learned man” who was absolutely without pretension and always willing to help.

Trilochan was both curious and approachable in his life far beyond the workplace. He was a man of a million hobbies, barely able to decide whether any particular day should be spent fishing at his ranch in Hempstead, playing tennis with his daughters, working on his cars, stargazing, playing with his many birds, or simply reading at home. He loved nothing more than spending time with his two daughters, Lizzy and Catherine, and he was always happy to encourage any interest they expressed, never feeling the need to steer them in any particular direction. One friend aptly describes him as an “oddly brilliant family man,” a characterization that captures Trilochan’s devotion to his daughters as well as his endearing quirkiness. Trilochan was brilliant, gentle, and playful, and the delight he took in inspiring others to think more deeply will be missed.

Trilochan is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine Padhi, and their mother Edna Rice; his sister, Sheela Padhi; his niece, Uma Panigrahi; and his nephew, Shankar Panigrahi.

A small ash-scattering service for friends and family will take place at Trilochan’s farm at 24114 Laneview Road in Hempstead on Sunday, the 24th of November.


  • Ash-Scattering Service

Trilochan Padhi

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André Boessenkool

October 25, 2013

I was just playing from the Orgelbüchlein für Anna Magdalene Bach and thought: I must Google Trilochan, who gave me this book 40 years ago.
So sad to read that Trilochan has passed away. I did not know him well, but remember that we had some great discussions about music, back in 1974/1975, when I was on an assignment to Shell Oil, in Houston. We had several dinner parties and other outings with him and other friends in those days. He lent me a small clavichord and gave me some music books to play from. Never saw him again since that time. He was such a gentle person then and I am sure he must have been all his life.

Pramode Verma

October 17, 2013

I was a classmate of Trilochan Padhi as well during 1959-62 at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. I do recall him as a brilliant student and a man of very refined taste. I last met him in spring, 1968, when I visited him from Halifax, Canada, in his dorm at Harvard.

Krishna Natarajan

October 12, 2013

I was a classmate of Trilochan Padhi for three years at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His intelligence and intellect shone brilliantly among all his classmates and I knew he was destined to be a great scientist/engineer. I am very saddened by his passing away and offer sincere condolences to his family.

Kashinath Namjoshi

October 8, 2013

Trilochan Padhi was my classmate in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. A very brilliant student. Since then I have met many people, who worked with him, talking highly about him. I am very sad to learn about his death.

Elinor Nichols

September 10, 2013

Although I did not know him well, I knew his family very well, especially his sweet mother-in-law Emily Rice and daughters Elizabeth and Catherine. I remember hearing of his love for his family and of his many varied interests. He will be missed by many and his influence will continue to affect others in the future. May our loving heavenly Father watch over his family, friends and colleagues and grant them peace during this stressful time.

Albert van der Kallen

September 9, 2013

Trilochan will be remembered by his colleagues and friends as one of the top scientists that put Shell geophysics on the map since the seventies.We feel all privileged to have benefitted from his deep insights in science and for his overall mentorship over all these years.

Albert Berni

September 9, 2013

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Trilochan Padhi, a man of great intellect and gentle temperament. It was an honor and a pleasure to know him during our years at BRC.

Alan Cohen

September 8, 2013

Trilochan Padhi was one of Shell Oil's finest scientists and a true gentleman. I

Bill Kiel

September 6, 2013

Trilochan was a most brilliant scientist in a field of brilliant scientists. But he was an even more extraordinary human being. We have lost a humble man who was respected and loved by all who knew him.

Noreen Watson

September 6, 2013

I started with Shell in 1974 and Trilochan was often working in the same area I did over many years. I loved his kind and gentle ways. He was so intensely interested in his work that it inspired me to learn early on. I had never done geophysics until I started with Shell and after 20 years of being saturated in it, I can see why he loved his work so much! He contributed a great deal both scientifically and personally to those of us who were lucky enough to know him. I know he will be missed by many!