Over the past nearly two decades, along with my current students, post-doctoral fellows and research colleagues , and former students, post-doctoral scholars and long term collaborators , I have worked on millisecond pulsars, old neutron stars, young neutron stars, brown dwarfs, soft gamma-ray repeaters, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, new types of optical transients and instrumentation. My current focus is the public-private Zwicky Transient Facility and the Kitt Peak EMCCD Demonstrator (KPED). In development: Spectral Energy Distribution Machine SEDMv2 and Galactic Radio Explorer. Prospective students: please read this.
My publications can be found via NASA ADS facility. A CV and bibliography can be found above. I enjoy teaching and find it to be a source of inspiration for research. This year I taught graduate ISM at Cornell (Fall), Physics of the ISM (undergrad)for winter and will be teaching Frosh Seminar "Automated Discovery of the Universe" (Ay3) in Spring. Past courses: Ay122b (radio intrumentation), Freshmen Seminar (Automated discovery of the Universe), Ay 123 (Stars), Ay102 (ISM), Ay 125 (High Energy Astronomy) and Ay126 (ISM). I have also served as section leader for Ph1/12 A-C.
My MO (modus operandi) is to identify fields before they become interesting and leave the field once it becomes popular. I have a rather strong view that data collection must be driven by a strong desire to deeply understand the physics of the underlying phenomenon. To this end, IMNHO, observers should have deep technical skills in the area of their research AND must have an excellent grasp of basic physics. I admire George Ellery Hale for his visionary leadership (it is the telescopes that enable discovery; the astronomer, in most instances, is merely the mid-person) and the contrarian Fritz Zwicky for his creativity. My current interests: stellar death, radio transients and the interstellar medium.
I hold the George Ellery Hale Professorship of Astronomy. Positions held: Executive Officer for Astronomy (1997-2000), Director of Caltech Optical Observatories (2006-2018) and Chair, Physical Science panel of the Infosys Science Foundation (since inception in 2009). I am a fellow (or member) of the American Society of Arts & Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). I held an Andrew D. White Professor-at-large, Cornell University (2007-2013), reeived an honorary from Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL (2015) and am current holder of the JRD Tata Chair Professor at TIFR, Colaba. Other honors can be found here.
I was born in the small principality of Kurundwad (India) and grew up in Hubballi (Karnataka). I was fortunate in that I attended excellent institutions with inspiring teachers: Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School); the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (MS, Applied Physics) and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD; the guru lineage). I am indebted to the tax payers of India and the state of California for supporting my education not only at no cost but providing scholarships or assistantships.
Pasadena, California; February, 2021. N=67, S=8, h=115 co-hist