Dr. K. Kasturirangan
M.Sc., Ph.D., F.A.Sc., F.N.A.
Former Member (Science), Planning Commission,
Government of India.
Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan took his Bachelor of Science with Honours and Master of Science in Physics from Bombay University and received his Doctorate in Experimental High Energy Astronomy in 1971 while working at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. He is also the Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) (from March, 2012). He continues to be Honorary Professor of Physics at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and also at the Jawarharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research, Bangalore and is a Professor Emeritus at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, and “Honorary Professor for Life” at the University of Delhi (2013).
Earlier, he was Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (2004-2009) and also a Member of Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian Parliament (2003-2009). He also served Planning Commission, Government of India as a Member (Science) from 2009 to 2013. For over 9 years until 2003, Dr. Kasturirangan steered the Indian Space programme as Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Under his leadership, the programme witnessed several major milestones including the successful launching and operationalisation of the India's prestigious satellite launch vehicles, viz., the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle; the development and launching of some of the world's best civilian remote sensing satellites, IRS-1C and 1D; new generation INSAT communication satellites and the ocean observation satellites, IRS-P3/P4. He laid the foundation for the ASTROSAT satellite project and conceptualized the moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, steering it to the stage of approval by the Government. As an Astrophysicist, his interest include research in high energy X-ray and gamma ray astronomy as well as optical astronomy. He has made extensive and significant contributions to studies of Cosmic x-ray and gamma ray sources and effect of cosmic x-rays in the lower atmosphere.
Dr. Kasturirangan is a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics and served as its Vice President. He is a Member of the International Astronomical Union and a Fellow of Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences and served as its President during 2001-03. He is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering and was its President during 2005-06. He was also General President of the Indian Science Congress for the years 2002-2003. Besides, he is Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and President of the National Academy of Sciences, India. He is Honorary Fellow of the Cardiff University, UK and Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City.
He has won several awards which include “Brock Medal” of International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2004); “Allan D Emil Memorial Award” of the International Astronautical Federation (2004); “Lifetime Achievement Award” of Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council, Singapore (2005); “Theodore Von Karman Award” by International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), France (2007); “Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award” in Engineering (1983); “Goyal Award” by Goyal Foundation (1997): Aryabhata Medal by Indian National Science Academy (2000); “GM Modi Award” by GM Modi Science Foundation (2002); “Aryabhata Award” of Astronautical Society of India (2003); “Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award” by the Indian Science Congress (2004); Award of “Jewel of Ruia”, Ruia College Alumni Association (2007); “Maharana Udai Singh Award by Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (2008); Rajayogindra Award, Maharaja of Mysore (2008);. “ISRO Life Time Achievement Award” instituted by Indian Space Research Organisation (2008); Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Gold Medal, Indian Science Congress (2009). He is the recipient of Honorary Degrees from over twenty Universities, the more recent ones being the Distinguised Academician Award of IIT- Patna (2013) and Desikottama Award of Viswa Bharati, Shantiniketan (2013). He has been conferred the Award of “Officer of the Legion d’honneur” by the President of the French Republic and also honoured with the highest Indian civilian awards, viz., “Padma Shri”, “Padma Bhushan” and “Padma Vibhushan” by the President of India. In February 2014, he was conferred with ‘Dharma Vira Oration Citation and Gold Medal and JKLU Laureate Award. In November 2014 Government of Karnataka conferred 'Kannada Rajyotsava' award in recognition of his services in the field of space technology.