Born on 24th January 1953 at Thiruvankulam in Ernakulam district of Kerala, Dr. Kurian had his schooling at Govt. High School, Chottanikkara and graduation in Physics at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. He did post- graduation in Oceanography at Cochin University during 1973-75 and was awarded Ph.D in Marine Sciences by the Cochin University of Science & Technology (CUSAT) in 1988
for his thesis on ocean wave transformation. He underwent a PG Diploma course in Remote Sensing Applications from the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing during 1986-87.
Dr.Kurian started his career in 1975 as Instructor in Oceanography at University of Agricultural Sciences, Mangalore. Joining CESS as Scientist-B in 1980 he rose to various levels in the organisation eventually taking over as Scientist-in-charge of Marine Sciences Division in 1998 and Head of the Division in 2000. He has 34 years’ R & D experience in the field of coastal oceanography and coastal processes.
At CESS, Dr.Kurian has implemented several projects funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (previously Department of Ocean Development) and Dept. of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, Indian Rare Earths Ltd., etc. in the capacity as Principal Investigator/Co- Principal Investigator/ Investigator. He was Project Manager from CESS in a New Zealand Government funded project which developed a Management Plan for Ashtamudi estuary. He has also co-ordinated/executed several consultancy projects in CESS.
Dr.Kurian’s research contributions have been in the field of coastal oceanography and coastal processes. His work on shallow water wave transformation brought out the factors responsible for spatial variation in wave intensity along the Kerala coast. A wave transformation model was developed incorporating bottom frictional dissipation and use of finer inshore grids. Under his leadership, placer mineral formation was studied with reference to hydrodynamic processes and characteristics of re-suspension of heavy sands leading to an understanding on the process of sorting of sediments. The work on sediment budgeting for the Chavara coast under his leadership was a pioneering work in the country. The role of wind as a dominant player in coastal processes was established and the nearshore sedimentary dynamics of the coast brought out. In recent years he has been concentrating on coastal hazards, especially on tsunami propagation and inundation along the Kerala coast and the role of different physical processes. Work under his leadership on coastal flooding has culminated in proposing a terminology Kallakkadal for the flooding found along the Kerala coast during fair weather period due to remote forcing.
Dr.Kurian has published over 69 research papers which include 20 in international journals, 16 in national journals and 33 in proceedings/books. He has presented papers in several national/international conferences. He is the editor/co-editor of 3 books including a Special Issue of the Indian Journal of Marine Sciences. As a Research Guide of CUSAT, 2 students have been awarded Ph.D under his guidance and 5 others are currently working for their Ph.D. He has been functioning as member of several committees and academic/professional bodies.