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Dipankar Bhattacharya to join Ashoka as the Sunanda & Santimay Basu Astrophysics Professor

In what is being seen as one of the major highlights of 2022, Professor Dipankar Bhattacharya will be moving from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) to Ashoka University as the Sunanda & Santimay Basu Astrophysics Professor in April this year.

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26 February, 2022 | 4m read

Ashoka University had earlier announced that a Chair has been endowed by two renowned Physicists, Sunanda Basu and Santimay Basu, in their name for teaching and research in Astrophysics. The University then undertook an extensive search for appointment of a distinguished Professor of Astrophysics, which has now culminated with this exciting announcement. Incidentally, this is the first named Chair at Ashoka. 

“Astrophysics today is progressing at a rapid pace, revealing fascinating new details about the Universe.  I look forward to sharing this excitement with the Ashoka community,” said Professor Bhattacharya, who is currently a Distinguished Professor and the Dean, Core Academic Programmes at IUCAA, Pune.  Prior to this he was a Professor of Astrophysics at Raman Research Institute, Bangalore.

Sunanda and Santimay Basu started their research careers in India and continued in the US for many decades. Santimay Basu passed away in 2013 and Sunanda has continued her career, with greater emphasis on philanthropy within the US and in developing countries, including Africa. In 2014, she endowed a gold medal and prize in memory of her husband Santimay Basu, to be given to an early-career scientist at the General Assemblies of the International Scientific Radio Union (URSI).

“With distinguished astrophysicist Professor Dipankar Bhattacharya’s appointment to this position, the University is confident of exciting developments in teaching and research in this field. We see this as an inspirational step forward for the sciences at Ashoka,” said Professor Malabika Sarkar, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University.

Prof. Bhattacharya obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.  His post-doctoral research was carried out at the University of Amsterdam and at University of California, Santa Barbara.  

He specialises on high-energy phenomena in Astrophysics, including cosmic explosions and their aftermath as well as compact objects such as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes.  He has been closely associated with the Indian Space Astronomy mission AstroSat, contributing to its design, development, science planning, operations management and user support.  He is also associated with other astronomy mega projects that India is involved in.

Prof. Bhattacharya is a recipient of the M.K. Vainu Bappu Gold medal of the Astronomical Society of India and the C.V. Raman award for Space Science of Government of Karnataka.  He is a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences, India, and a member of the Divisional Steering Committee (High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics) of the International Astronomical Union.

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