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Ashoka University’s VC Somak Raychaudhury awarded J.V. Narlikar Lifetime Achievement Honour

The award has been conferred for his contributions to the field of Cosmology and Astrophysics

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11 December, 2023 | 4m read

Ashoka University’s Vice-Chancellor Somak Raychaudhury has been awarded the inaugural J.V. Narlikar Lifetime Achievement Award for Physical Sciences, bestowed by Marathi Vidnyan Parishad (MaViPa), Mumbai.  The award recognises exceptional contributions in the field of physical sciences.

Somak Raychaudhury has been one of India’s leading observational cosmologists, making pioneering discoveries using observations at radio, optical and X-ray frequencies. He pioneered the study of galaxy superclusters as the largest bound structures, demonstrating the link between galaxy evolution and large-scale structure and the cosmic web. He established the currently popular method to reconstruct the equation of the state of Dark energy from supernova luminosity distances. He has developed innovative machine-learning algorithms for mining large astronomical datasets. He recently served as a co-chair for the committee responsible for formulating the Vision document outlining the future direction of Astronomy research for the Government of India. Until recently, he headed the Pune Knowledge Cluster and chaired some of India’s DST/DAE mega-projects such as LIGO-India and TMT-India.

“My interest in astrophysics originated from reading Professor Jayant Vishnu Narlikar’s books from a very early age, starting with ‘The Structure of the Universe.’ Later it was my singular fortune to work with him at IUCAA, where he entrusted me with the science outreach programme, and later I followed him as Director of the Institute. His influence has been pivotal in shaping the intellectual curiosity and pursuits of several researchers in the field, including that of my own. I have looked up to Dr. Narlikar, and being conferred an award in his name is an honour. I am grateful to Marathi Vidnyan Parishad for this recognition,” said Somak Raychaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University.

A. P. Deshpande, Honourable Secretary, Marathi Vidnyan Parishad said, “Renowned for ground-breaking work, such as on exploring galaxy superclusters, the universe’s largest structures, and unlocking mysteries of exotic celestial entities such as black holes in neighbouring galaxies, Somak Raychaudhury’s body of work has advanced our understanding in the fields of cosmology and astrophysics. This award is a recognition and celebration of his achievements as a scientist, as well as an educator in building the next generation of researchers from India, contributing to nation building.”

The award ceremony was part of the inaugural session of Marathi Vidnyan Parishad’s 58th Annual Conference. Founded in 1966, Marathi Vidnyan Parishad (MaViPa), Mumbai is contributing to the society with the objective to disseminate scientific knowledge mainly through Marathi language and to enrich the Marathi language for the expression of scientific thought. It also focuses on enhancing the importance of science in life as well as contributing to research and advancement of science.

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