4 Indian physicists win top prizes at International Astronomy Meeting

Four Indian researchers were among the seven international students who won the top prizes for their doctoral work at the 31st meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Busan, South Korea.

The four researchers are specialized in solar physics. Prantika Bhowmik of India’s Center of Excellence in Space Science at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata; Nainital won the honours.

“Rarely does a country win so many doctoral dissertation prizes at a global forum. Rarer still, the prizes are in the field of solar physics. This is proof of high quality work to understand the Sun and its impact on the space environment done in India in recent years,” said Professor Dipankar Banerjee, President of the Astronomical Society of India.

The gathering, which ends on Thursday, saw India host its first pavilion at an IAU gathering.

At its inauguration by IAU President Debra Elmegreen, the Indian contingent presented a plaque signifying the permanent display of Indian astronomical facilities at the IAU headquarters in Paris, France.

The pavilion showcased all the major astronomical facilities and locally developed telescopes, including the giant Metrewave radio telescope in Pune, the Devasthal optical telescope in Nainital, the Indian astronomical observatory in Hanle and the solar observatories in Udaipur and Kodaikanal. In addition, space missions such as “Chandrayaan” and “Astrosat”, besides upcoming space astronomy missions such as “Aditya L1”, “Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) India”, “Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT )’ and the ‘Square Meter Array (SKA)’ were also presented.

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