Rajesh Gopakumar is an eminent theoretical physicist whose pioneering work is helping to decode the baffling laws of quantum physics. Currently, he serves as the director of the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS-TIFR), Bangalore. He was previously a professor at Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI) in Allahabad, India. His work on a simplified version of string theory led to the discovery, with Cumrun Vafa, of the Gopakumar–Vafa duality and Gopakumar–Vafa invariants.
His interests are in theoretical physics, primarily at the intersection of quantum field theory and string theory. He would like to understand why string theory is a natural framework for describing a variety of phenomena. In particular, a lot of his research has focused on deciphering the AdS/CFT correspondence. He is a recipient of several prestigious awards and recognitions including the ICTP Prize – in honour of G. C. Wick (2006), the S.S. Bhatnagar Award (2009), the Swarnajayanthi Fellowship (2006), the J. C. Bose Fellowship (2015), the G. D. Birla Prize (2013) and the TWAS Prize in the Physical Sciences (2013). He is also a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy and the National Academy of Sciences, India. He was elected fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2015 and also a founding member (now alumnus) of the Global Young Academy (GYA).