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Jayant Narlikar

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The great Indian astrophysicist, Dr Jayant Narlikar was born on July 19, 1938, in a highly educated and cultured family in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. His father, Vishnu Vasudev Narlikar, was a mathematician who served as a professor and the Head of the Department of Mathematics at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Jayant's mother, Sumati Narlikar, was a scholar of Sanskrit. His maternal uncle was the distinguished statistician V. S. Huzurbazar.



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Narlikar received his Bachelor degree from Banaras Hindu University in 1957. He then began his studies at Cambridge University, where he received a B.A. in mathematics in 1959 and was Senior Wrangler. In 1960, he won the Tyson Medal for astronomy. During his doctoral studies at Cambridge, he won the Smith's Prize in 1962. After receiving his PhD in 1963 under the guidance of Fred Hoyle, he served as a Berry Ramsey Fellow at King's College in Cambridge and earned an M.A. in astronomy and astrophysics in 1964. He continued to work as a Fellow at King's College until 1972. In 1966, Fred Hoyle established the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy in Cambridge, and Narlikar served as the founding staff member of the institute during 1966–72. In 1972, Narlikar took up Professorship at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, India. At the TIFR, he was in charge of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group. In 1988, the Indian University Grants Commission set up the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune, and Narlikar became the Founder-Director of IUCAA. In 1981, Narlikar became a founding member of the World Cultural Council. Narlikar is known for his work in cosmology, especially in championing models alternative to the popular Big Bang model. During 1994–1997, he was the President of the Cosmology Commission of the International Astronomical Union. His research work has involved Mach's Principle, quantum cosmology, and action-at-a-distance physics. Narlikar was part of a study which cultured microorganisms from stratospheric air samples obtained at 41 km. Narlikar was appointed as the Chairperson of The Advisory Group for Textbooks in Science and Mathematics, the textbook development committee responsible for developing textbooks in Science and Mathematics, published by NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training).


Personal life

Narlikar married a mathematics researcher and professor Mangala Rajwade who was later known as Dr. Mangala Narlikar. The couple has three daughters – Geeta, Girija and Leelavati. He is the uncle of the Cambridge University social sciences academic Amrita Narlikar.


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2014:- Sahitya Akademi Award for his autobiography in Marathi

2010:- Maharashtra Bhushan

2004:- Padma Vibhushan for research work

1996:- Kalinga Prize by UNESCO

1990:- the Indira Gandhi Award of the Indian National Science Academy

1981:- Rashtra Bhushan by FIE Foundation, Ichalkaranji

1965:- Padma Bhushan


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