Indian Scientist Wins Prestigious Dan David Prize For His Contributions To Astronomy

The Logical Indian Crew

May 19th, 2017

Indian astronomer Shrinivas Kulkarni

Courtesy: Dan David Prize | Image Credit: Dan David Prize

Indian astronomer Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the prestigious Dan David Prize for 2017.

Professor Kulkarni was born in a small town of Kurundwad, Maharashtra on 4 October 1956. The success of his astronomical research is seen in 63 Nature Letters, 7 Science Letters, and total of 479 refereed scientific articles that bear his name as of 2015.


The Dan David Prize

The Dan David Prize is a joint international corporation, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

The Prize recognises and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that “cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms”. It aims to foster universal values of excellence, creativity, justice, democracy and progress and to promote the scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our world.

The Dan David Prize covers three time dimensions – Past, Present and Future – that represent realms of human achievement.

  • The Past refers to fields that expand knowledge of former times.
  • The Present recognises achievements that shape and enrich society today.
  • The Future focuses on breakthroughs that hold great promise for improvement of our world.

Each year, the International Board chooses one field within each time dimension. Following a review process by independent Review Committees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

Three prizes of one million US dollars each are granted annually in the fields chosen for the three time dimensions. The prizes are granted to individuals or institutions “with proven, exceptional, distinct excellence in the sciences, arts, humanities, public service and business, that have made and continue to make an outstanding contribution to humanity on the basis of merit, without discrimination of gender, race, religion, nationality, or political affiliation”.

(More information on the Prize can be read in Dan David’s speech at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Prize on 12 May 2001.)


Shrinivas Kulkarni’s work

Shrinivas Kulkarni is the Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology, USA. He is also the Director of Caltech Optical Observatories and the Director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute.

He is a leading figure in time-domain astrophysics across the electromagnetic spectrum. Among his notable achievements are:

  • the identifications of the host galaxies and supernovae associated with gamma ray bursts,
  • the association of soft gamma-ray repeaters with neutron stars, and
  • detailed studies of the full variety of supernovae, binary and millisecond pulsars, and magnetars.

In 2009, he led the construction of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), a large area survey of the night sky in search of variable and transient phenomena that probed time varying phenomena in an automated manner.

The survey has transformed our knowledge of the transient sky, turning up thousands of stellar explosions, supernovae and others. PTF revolutionised our understanding of the time varying sky locating many exotic classes of sources, including some only predicted theoretically.

Amongst the distinguished awards that Prof Kulkarni has received are:

  • the NSF Alan T. Waterman Prize (1992),
  • the Helen B. Warner Prize, American Astronomical Society (1991), and
  • the Vainu Bappu Memorial Award, Astronomical Society of India (1990).

Professor Kulkarni is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and a fellow of the Royal Society, London, and he holds an honorary doctorate from Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


The Logical Indian community congratulates Professor Kulkarni on his achievement and hanks him for his priceless contributions in the field of astronomy.

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