Indian scientist Shrinivas Kulkarni on 18 May 2017 won the prestigious Dan David prize 2017 for his contribution in the field of astronomy. He was awarded in the ‘Future’ category which is dedicated to astronomy this year. He will share the award with Andrej Udalski of the University of Warsaw and Neil Gehrels of NASA for their discoveries on time-domain astrophysics. Kulkarni is a professor of astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
He is a pioneer and leading figure in time-domain astrophysics across the electromagnetic spectrum who built and conducted the Palomar Transient Factory, a large-area survey of the night sky in search of variable and transient phenomena. This survey has turned up thousands of stellar explosions and has transformed the knowledge about the transient sky.
With this, Shrinivas Kulkarni joins other prominent Indian laureates of the Dan David prize including author Amitav Ghosh, music conductor Zubin Mehta and renowned chemist CNR Rao. The USD 1 million prize is a joint international enterprise endowed by the Dan David Foundation headquartered at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Three Dan David prizes 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. The recipients in the ‘Past’ category are generally drawn from the field of history, archaeology, paleontology, biography, etc. The recipients in the ‘Present’ category are drawn from arts, media, policy, economics, etc. The recipients in the ‘Future’ category are drawn from one of the exact or natural sciences.