Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan earned his BSc (Hons) and MSc in Physics from Bombay University and received his PhD (1971) in 'Experimental High Energy' Astronomy working at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad. He is presently the Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) at Bangalore; Honorary Professor of Physics, PRL, Ahmedabad and Jawarharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research at Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: As an astrophysicist, Dr Kasturirangan's interests include research in high energy X-ray and gamma ray astronomy as well as optical astronomy. He has made extensive and significant contributions to the studies of cosmic X-ray and gamma ray sources and effect of cosmic X-rays in the lower atmosphere. Dr Kasturirangan steered the Indian Space Programme as Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization. Under his leadership, the programme witnessed several major milestones including the successful launching and operationalisation of the India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. Further, he oversaw the development and launching of several Remote Sensing and Communication Satellites. These efforts have put India as a pre-eminent space-faring nation.
Other Contributions: 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 served as President of Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Academy of Engineering (2005-06). He was also General President of the Indian Science Congress for the years 2002-03. He is the Honorary Fellow of the Cardiff University, UK and an Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City. Presently, he is the Chairman of Council of the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore. Also he is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Raman Research Institute, Indian Institute of Astrophysics at Bangalore as well as of the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences at Nainital. Kasturirangan is a Member of Upper House of Indian Parliament. He is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy and Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Human Resource Development. He is the President of India-Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship Group and a Member of India-China Eminent Persons' Group.
Awards and Honours: Kasturirangan has won the highest civilian honours Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan by the President of India and Award of 'Officer of the Legion d'honneur' by the President of the French Republic, France; Aryabhata Medal of the Indian National Science Academy (2000), Aryabhata Award of Astronautical Society of India (2003), Brock Medal of International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2004), Allan D Emil Memorial Award of the International Astronautical Federation (2004), Theodore Von Karman Award by International Academy of Astronautics, France (2007), SS Bhatnagar Award, Lifetime Achievement Award of Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council, Singapore and Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award by the Indian Science Congress. He is a Fellow of National Academy Sciences (India), Allahabad, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Indian National Academy of Engineering and Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).