Professor Thanu receives M P Birla Memorial Award

The award given to Professor Thanu Padmanabhan comprised a citation, M P Birla Award Trophy and a cheque for Rs 2,51,000/

Professor Thanu Padmanabhan, renowned scientist and Distinguished Professor, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, (IUCAA), Pune, received the prestigious M P Birla Memorial Award 2019 from H V Lodha, Chairman, MP Birla Group, on September 29, 2019, at the MP Birla Planetarium sky theatre in the presence of eminent citizens of Kolkata. The award comprised a citation, M P Birla Award Trophy and a cheque for Rs 2,51,000/.

Thereafter, Professor Padmanabhan delivered the MP Birla Memorial Lecture on 'Gravity and the Cosmos', explaining the recent advances on Cosmology and research on Gravitation.

Lodha thanked Professor Padmanabhan for accepted the award and said, "In the 57 years of its existence, the Planetarium had not only become a landmark in the city of Kolkata, but also has evolved into a centre of excellence in pursuit of astronomy popularisation, awareness, studies and research activities. It has created a unique niche in the field of astronomy education in our country".

He added that the MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research and the MP Birla Planetarium have been playing a multi-dimensional role both in knowledge dissemination and research-oriented activities. Professor Padmanabhan, one of the most distinguished scientists of India, has contributed immensely to the field of General Relativity, Gravitation & Cosmology during his long research career which started in the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) for his PhD, in 1979, after he received a M Sc degree in Physics from the University College, Kerala University. He did his doctoral research work in the field of Quantum Cosmology, under the supervision of the renowned Prof. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar.

He also obtained key visiting positions at different renowned institutes across the world. He was a Visiting Professor at the Pauli Centre for Theoretical Studies, ETH, Zurich, Sackler Distinguished Astronomer of Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, U K, Visiting Faculty at Princeton, Pennsylvania State University, Caltech and Homi Bhaba Lecturer at Britain, to name a few.

He has written 300 papers which has been cited by other researchers around the world around 16,000 times. He has supervised around 18 PhD students who are recently faculties of distinguished research institutes of the country.

Prof. Padmanabhan is well-known across the global scientific community for his books on Astrophysics and Cosmology. His research work gives a new insight into the confluence of General Relativity and Quantum Theory to recognize the key theoretical problems from a more fundamental perspective. He was conferred Padma Shri in 2007. He has also received numerous prestigious awards, including Infosys Science Prize in Physical Sciences (2009), Third World Academy of Sciences Prize in Physics (2011), among others.

The previous recipients of the MP Birla Memorial Award are Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Professor J V Narlikar, Professor Ashok Sen, Professor SM Chitre, Professor KD Abhayankar, Professor PC Agrawal, Professor V Radhakrishnan, Professor R Cowsik, to name a few.

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