Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni wins the 2017 Dan David Prize

Prof. Kulkarni, former IAS Guest Lecturer, is a pioneer and leading figure in time-domain astrophysics and planetary science

The 2017 Dan David Prize Reception and Award Ceremony. Credit: Israel Hadari

Scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni, who gave the Bahcall lecture in the framework of the Emilio Segre Distinguished Lectures in Physics Endowed by Raymond and Beverly Sackler for the academic year 2008/2009, is the laureate of the prestigious Dan David prize for his contribution in the field of astronomy. Prof. Kulkarni is the Director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute and The MacArthur Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. Prof. Kulkarni, with this honor, joins other prominent Indian laureates of the Dan David prize including author Amitav Ghosh, music conductor Zubin Mehta and renowned chemist Prof. C.N.R. Rao. 


Prof. Kulkarni is a leading figure in time-domain astrophysics across the electromagnetic spectrum. Among his notable achievements are the identifications of the host galaxies and supernovae associated with gamma ray bursts, the association of soft gamma-ray repeaters with neutron stars, and detailed studies of the full variety of supernovae, binary and millisecond pulsars, and magnetars. In 2009 he led the construction of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) a large area survey of the night sky in search of variable and transient phenomena that probed time varying phenomena in an automated manner. The survey has transformed our knowledge of the transient sky, turning up thousands of stellar explosions, supernovae and others. PTF revolutionized our understanding of the time varying sky locating many exotic classes of sources, including some only predicted theoretically. 


Amongst the distinguished awards that Prof. Kulkarni has received are the NSF Alan T. Waterman Prize (1992); the Helen B. Warner Prize, American Astronomical Society (1991) and the Vainu Bappu Memorial Award, Astronomical Society of India (1990). Prof. Kulkarni is a member of the American National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society, London and he holds an honorary doctorate from Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. 


The Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) offers its warmest congratulations to its past Emilio Segre Distinguished Lecturer in Physics on receiving this esteemed recognition. 

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