The Sunanda and Santimay Basu Chair in Astrophysics at Ashoka University
Office of PR & Communications20 May, 2021 | 1m read
In honour of Malabika Sarkar, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University
Sunanda and Santimay Basu were the internationally recognized experts in the area of ionospheric scintillation, having made cutting edge research contributions to every aspect of the field encompassing diverse natural irregularity formation processes at high, middle and low latitudes, as well as artificial turbulence generation through high-power high frequency (HF) radio wave interactions. These scintillations, now known generically as ionospheric space weather, are caused by plasma density irregularities in near-Earth space, and are responsible for creating errors in space-based communication and navigation systems such as GPS. Such errors are much enhanced during magnetic storms on Earth, which follow transient events on the sun, like solar flares or coronal mass ejections.
This scientist couple started their research careers in India and continued in the US for many decades. Unfortunately, Santimay 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, to be given to an early-career scientist at the General Assemblies of the International Scientific Radio Union (URSI). She is particularly interested in Astrophysics and hopes that this position will create a nucleus for a vibrant centre in the topic at Ashoka University.