Indian astrophysicist Shrinivas Kulkarni has been named for Israel’s prestigious Dan David prize this year, making him share the honour along with other Indian recipients such as author Amitav Ghosh, music conductor Zubin Mehta and scientist CNR Rao.
Kulkarni is currently a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, US and his contribution is notable to the electromagnetic spectrum with his Palomar Transient Factory, a large-area survey of the night sky in search of variable and transient phenomena. It resulted in finding thousands of stellar explosions.
The prize carries $ 1 million and it was set up as a joint international enterprise endowed by the Dan David Foundation headquartered at Tel Aviv University. The award will be conferred on Kulkarni on May 21 in the presence of the laureates.
Three Dan David prizes of US$ 1 million each are given every year in the categories of “Past”, “Present” and “Future” to people around the world who have made outstanding contributions to humanity in the sciences, humanities, or social work.
The recipients in the “Past” category are generally drawn from the field of history, archaeology, paleontology, biography, etc; the “Present” from arts, media, policy, economics, etc; and the “Future” from one of the exact or natural sciences.
The “Future” category for 2017 is being shared by Kulkarni with two other recipients — Andrej Udalski of the University of Warsaw and Neil Gehrels of NASA — for their discoveries on time-domain astrophysics.
The rider for the prize stipulates that the laureates should donate 10 percent of their prize money towards scholarships for graduate or post- graduate researchers in their respective fields.