Tarun Kant was born on July 1, 1946, at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh. He received his B.Sc. degree from University of Allahabad in 1962, his B.Tech. (Hons) in civil engineering from IIT Bombay in 1967, M.Tech. in civil engineering with specialisation in structural engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1969, and Ph.D. from IIT Bombay in 1977.
Prof. Kant worked for about one-and-a-half years in a consulting engineering firm in Mumbai before joining IIT Bombay in January1971 as lecturer. He was selected as an assistant professor in 1978 and professor in 1986. He has held the positions of Department Head (2000-2002), Dean (Planning) of the Institute (2001-2003), Chairman of the prestigious Joint Entrance Examination (JEE-1998), and Chairman of Central Library (1995-1999) with great distinction. He initiated and introduced many innovations effectively during his tenure. IIT Bombay appointed him as an Institute Chair Professor with effect from December 31, 2009.
Prof. Kant was elected a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 1999, a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2004, a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy in 2007, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India, in 2011. He is the first and only civil engineer in the country to get elected to all the four national academies. He is also the fourth civil engineer to get elected to the two national science academies (INSA & IASc). He has been visiting professor at University of Wales, Swansea (1979-82), University of Cambridge (1993), and University of California, Los Angeles (2005).
Prof. Kant has published more than 135 research papers in refereed journals, six chapters in edited books, about 145 papers in conference proceedings, edited four books, and currently serves on the editorial boards of five international journals and in diverse areas of computational structural mechanics. He has carried out 12 sponsored projects and has authored about 21 unpublished reports. He has also edited a set of two volumes entitled ‘Finite Elements in Computational Mechanics’, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1985, and has co-edited another volume titled ‘Advances in Structural Engineering’, Quest Publications, Mumbai, 2000.
He is a recipient of the Burmah-Shell Best Paper Prize. He was awarded the 1979 Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust (UK) Scholarship and European Commission Senior Faculty Exchange Fellowship (1992-93), both by the Indian government. He was nominated for the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize in 1992. He received the 2009 Khosla National Award for lifetime achievement in the field of engineering. Likewise, in April 2012, IIT Bombay conferred on him its 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.