Pune: Prof Jayant Vishnu Narlikar Gets First Astronomical Society of India Govind Swarup Lifetime Achievement Award


GG News Bureau

Pune, 12th May. The most befitting recipient of the very first ASI Govind Swarup Lifetime Achievement award is Prof. Jayant V. Narlikar, an astronomer par-excellence, the founding director of IUCAA, Pune and also a past President of the ASI.

Though the award was announced earlier this year at the 41st meeting of the ASI held at IIT Indore, Prof. Narlikar was unable to travel to receive it.

The President of the ASI, Prof. Dipankar Banerjee, was in Pune to personally hand over the award to Prof. Narlikar and felicitate him.

On this occasion, Prof. Banerjee said, “Though their domains of work differed widely, both Prof. Swarup and Prof. Narlikar remained deeply committed to the growth of Astronomy and Astrophysics in the country by building exemplary institutions and devoting enormous efforts towards training the younger generations. They both continue to serve as illustrious role models for generations to come.

It is an honour for me to hand over the award to our beloved teacher, Jayant.”

Colleagues at NCRA also convey their congratulations to Prof. Narlikar and are pleased that the award, named after their founder, has been conferred on Prof. Narlikar, the founder of the institution next door, IUCAA.

Prof. R. Srianand, Director, IUCAA, said, “We at IUCAA are delighted that Prof. Jayant Narlikar has been conferred with the Govind Swarup lifetime achievement award of the ASI for the year 2022. It is indeed a very special moment as an award named after one of the brightest instrument builders of a generation has been given to the most inspiring cosmologist of the same generation.”

Prof. Narlikar has dedicated his life to the study of the Universe, contributing to various aspects of Astrophysics including the Narlikar-Hoyle theory. He has also inspired many generations with his popular interactions, films and books.

Prof. Narlikar was amongst the first to initiate cosmology research in India.

He came up with an idea of creating a dedicated center to nucleate and spread astronomy curriculum and research in the Indian Universities. His dream was fulfilled with his hard work by the formation of IUCAA.

He has been a motivational figure for young aspiring minds for decades. His continued active involvement in science and outreach is an inspiration to all of us.

In the year 2022, as it celebrated its golden jubilee, the Astronomical Society of India (ASI) instituted the Govind Swarup Lifetime Achievement award to recognise eminent Indian astronomers for the contributions they have made to the field of Astronomy and Astrophysics in India over their careers.

The award is named in honour of Prof. Govind Swarup (1929-2020). Prof. Swarup is widely regarded to be the founder of Indian radio astronomy.

He conceived of and led the construction of the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) using innovative, cost-effective ideas optimized for the Indian environment.

He was a visionary and one of the strongest early proponents of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). He was the founding director of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Pune.

The framework for science education institutes which he developed and proposed, along with Prof. V. G. Bhide has come to fruition in the form of Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) which have now been established across the country.

The award carries a citation and plaque, and a cash prize.

The ASI acknowledges the generous contribution by Prof. Swarup’s family towards this award.

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