Kalinga Prize laureate

1996

India
Jayant Vishnu Narlikar

In recognition of his efforts to popularize science through print and electronic media

Born in Maharashtra (India), Jayant Vishnu Narlikar obtained his Ph.D in Mathematics, specializing in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Cambridge (USA). He distinguished himself at Cambridge by receiving both the Smith’s Prize in 1962 and the Adam’s Prize in 1967. Professor Narlikar is internationally known for his work in cosmology, in championing alternative models to the big bang model. In 1988 he set up the International University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in India under the University Grants Commission (UGC). Under his direction IUCAA has acquired a worldwide reputation as a centre of excellence in teaching and research in astronomy and astrophysics. He has now retired from this position and is Emeritus Professor at IUCAA. He has received several national and international awards and honorary doctorates including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, he is the recipient of the M.P. Birla award, the Prix Janssen of the French Astronomical Society, and an Associate of the Royal Astronomical Society in London. He is Fellow of three national science academies and the Third World Academy of Science (TWAS).

Apart from his research work, Narlikar has established a name in the field of science popularization through his printed and electronic media. He has written over 400 articles for popular science magazines in English, Hindi and Marathi. He has also appeared on radio and television shows relating to science, and has been associated with popular television programmes that cover the different aspects of astronomy, notably The Cosmos, On the Developing Relationship to the Sky and Brahmand. In addition, Professor Narlikar has written science fiction stories and novels in three languages which have generated a considerable response in India. He also is known for his initiative to answer scientific questions that are sent to him from school children on a postcard which has in turn generated a booklet called Science through Postcards. For his efforts in the popularization of science he has received the Indira Gandhi Award in 1990 from the Indian National Science Academy.

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