Srinivas Kulkarni physicist turned astronomer
physicist turned astronomer
His pathbreaking research in the field of astronomy may help in solving the mystery
of vast universe.
Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni, a physicist turned astronomer has been awarded the prestigious Dan David prize for his contribution in the field of astronomy. He is a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, USA.
The $1 million prize is a joint international enterprise endowed by the Dan David Foundation based at Tel Aviv University, (TAU) a public research university in Israel.
With this honour, Prof. Kulkarni has joined other prominent Indian laureates of the Dan David prize including author Amitav Ghosh, music conductor Zubin Mehta and renowned chemist Dr CNR Rao. The honour was conferred at a festive awards ceremony on 21 May in the presence of the laureates.
Three Dan David prizes of $1 million each are given every year in the categories of “Past,” “Present” and “Future” to people around the world who have made outstanding contributions to humanity in the sciences, humanities or through their work in civil society.
The Dan David Foundation was founded in 2000, with a $100 million endowment by Romanian-born Israeli businessman and philanthropist, Dan David.
The “Future” category in 2017 is dedicated to astronomy and will be shared by Prof. Kulkarni, Andrej Udalski of the University of Warsaw and Neil Gehrels of NASA for their discoveries in Astrophysics, a branch of Astronomy.
The prize, now in its 16th year, was established by the late Dan David, an international businessman and philanthropist.
Career of achievements
The laureates are required to donate 10 per cent of their prize money towards scholarships for graduate or post-graduate researchers in their respective fields.
Shrinivas was born in the small town of Kurundwad in southern Maharashtra on 4 October 1956 as one of four children of the surgeon Dr. R. H. Kulkarni, a medical college professor and Vimla Kulkarni. He received his early education in Hubballi, Karnataka.
He obtained his M.Sc. in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 1978, and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1983, and joined CALTECH 1987.
Shrinivas is currently a professor of astronomy and planetary science at Caltech and the director of Caltech Optical Observatory (COO) at Caltech, which oversees Palomar and Keck among other observatories.
The success of his astronomical research is seen by his 479 scientific research papers that bear his name.
He is a member of four national academies around the globe. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, in 2001, a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2003, an honourary fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences in 2012, and a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences on 12 September 2016.
He has received a number of awards including the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award in 1992, Helen B. Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1991, Jansky Prize in 2002 and now the Dan David Prize in 2017.
Shrinivas met Ms. Hiromi Komiya, a citizen of Japan, in the early 80s, when she was a student of biochemistry in the University of California, Berkeley, USA, where he was studying for his Ph.D in astronomy.
They got married in 1985. They have two daughters Anju and Maya. Shrinivas is the younger brother of Mrs. Sudha Murthy (wife of N.R. Narayan Murthi, one of the founders of INFOSYS, the wellknown Information Technology Company of India).
What next? Possibly a Nobel Prize in the coming years!
Shrinivas Kulkarni has been awarded the Dan David Prize for outstanding contribution in astrophysics.