Awards and Endowments instituted by the Astronomical Society of India


The following awards are given by the Astronomical Society of India for achievements in astronomy and astrophysics.

Professor M. K. Vainu Bappu Gold Medal:

The Vainu Bappu Memorial Gold Medal VB 2012 was awarded to Dr. Luca Cortese, Swinburne University of Technology Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing during ASI 2017 meeting at B. M. Birla Auditorium, Jaipur during 6 - 10 March 2017

The Vainu Bappu Memorial Gold Medal VB 2014 was awarded to Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan, University of Cambridge during ASI 2016 meeting at Srinagar, Kashmir which was held during 10-13 May, 2016

The Astronomical Society of India has instituted a fund in the memory of Professor M. K. Vainu Bappu with the objectives to promote knowledge of Astronomy and Astrophysics and honour the contributions made by young scientists, normally not beyond 35 years of age, from any part of the world, in the field of astronomy and astrophysics.

As a token of appreciation of the scientist's contribution to astronomy and astrophysics, the Astronomical Society of India awards the Professor M.K. Vainu Bappu Gold Medal and a citation. The award is given at intervals of two years. The recipient of the medal shall be required to deliver the Vainu Bappu memorial lecture at a meeting of the Society. Partial support for the recipient's travel to the venue of the meeting and full local hospitality during the period of the meeting will be provided by the Society. Young astronomers with exceptional achievements and promise are eligible for the award. The scientific achievements may be in any branch of astronomy, astrophysics and related fields. There are no restrictions on the nationality.

Nominations of the best suited young persons for this award are invited at intervals of every two years. Work done prior to 31 December of the prescribed year only will be considered. The nomination may be made on a plain paper in the following format:

  1. Name
  2. Affiliation
  3. Address for correspondence
  4. Date of birth
  5. Academic qualifications
  6. Major scientific achievements on which the nomination is based
  7. List of publications
  8. Reprints relevant to the recommendation
  9. Citations of relevance
  10. Any other information pertaining to the scientific excellence of the nominee
  11. Name and designation of the proposer along with the address for correspondence
  12. Signature of the proposer with date

The nominations may be made by heads of institutions, directors of observatories, heads of departments or senior scientists. Each nomination, including all the supporting documents, should be submitted in quadruplicate to the secretary of the society before the deadline, as announced from time to time.

This award was instituted in the year 1986, and the following is the list of awardees:

1986 Dr. Y. Fukui, Japan
1988 Dr. G.P. Efstathiou, UK & Dr. Srinivas R. Kulkarni, USA
1990 Dr. D.J. Saikia, India & Dr. D. Bhattacharya, India
1992 Dr. Pawan Kumar, USA
1994 Dr. Mathew Colless, Australia
1996 Dr. Sarbani Basu, USA
1998 Dr. Peter Martinez, South Africa
2000 Dr. Biswajit Paul, India & Dr. Alycia J. Weinberger, USA
2002 Dr. Brian P. Schmidt, Australia
2004 Dr. R. Srianand, IUCAA, Pune, India & Dr. Ray Jayawardhana, Univ. Toronto, Canada
2006 Dr. Banibrata Mukhopadhyay, IISC, Bangalore
2008 Dr. Nissim Kanekar, NCRA-TIFR, Pune, India & Dr. Niayesh Afshordi, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Canada
2010 Dr. Marta Burgay,Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Italy & Dr. Parampreet Singh, Louisiana State University, USA
2012 Dr. Luca Cortese, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
2014 Dr. Nikku Madhusudan, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Young Astronomer Award:

The aim of this award, instituted by the Astronomical Society of India, is to motivate young Indian scientists to make outstanding research contributions in any aspect of astronomy/astrophysics and to publish the same in the Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India.

The award consists of a cash prize of Rs.10,000/- and a scroll/citation of honour which mentions the name/s of the author/s and the title of the winning research article, duly signed by the current President and the Secretary of the Society. The award is given once in two years, and at the time of each such `year of award' papers published in the Bulletin of ASI during the two previous calendar years and satisfying necessary conditions mentioned below are considered for the award. For example, the papers published during the calendar years 1983 and 1984 were considered for the first `year of award' which was the year 1985.

Only those research articles may be considered for the award, whose first author is an Indian National and whose age does not exceed 35 years on the first day of the period for which the award is being made. In case the article is written by more than one author, the prize money will be divided equally among all those authors who are eligible in the sense defined above.

The award is made on the basis of selection by a panel of three referees duly constituted by the Executive Council of ASI, soon after the publication of the last issue for the period of the Bulletin of ASI for which the award is made.

The Young Astronomer for the year 2013 :

Formation rates of dark matter haloes (December 2011 issue)

Sourav Mitra, Girish Kulkarni, J. S. Bagla and Jaswant K. Yadav

The first two authors will share the award.

New Discovery Award:

In order to recognise and appreciate the achievements of the Indian astronomers, the society has instituted an award for the discoveries of comets, asteroids, novae, supernovae and any other astrophysical phenomena. This award consists of a cash prize of Rs.10000/-, a medal and a citation. It is called as the New Discovery Award.

The prerequisite for this award is that the discovery should have been made by an Indian national in India. The proof and authenticity of the discovery should be provided by the one who stakes claim for the award. There is no age restriction for this award.

The nominations for this award may be made by heads of institutions, directors of observatories, heads of departments or senior scientists. Each nomination, including all the supporting documents, should be submitted in quadruplicate to the secretary of the society as and when the discovery is made.

Best Poster Award:

A set of five awards has been instituted for the poster presentations during the 35th Annual Meeting of Astronomical Society of India, B. M. Birla Auditorium, Jaipur from 6 - 10 March 2017. Each award consists of Rs. 5,000/- and a certificate, and will be presented to the authors of the poster adjudged to be the best in each of the following disciplines:

The Best Poster Award for the year 2017 has been awarded to following:

  1. Sun and Solar System : Mr. Vaibhav Pant for the poster “Automated Detection of CMEs in Heliosphere: Comparison between manual and  automated catalogs” .

  2. Stars, ISM and Galaxy : Mr. Supriyo Ghosh for the poster “The Near-Infrared Spectral Calibration of Late-type Giant Stars from  medium resolution HK-band Spectra”.

  3. Extragalactic Astronomy : Mr. Amit Kumar Mandal for the poster “Determination of the size of the dust torus in H0507+164 through Optical-IR monitoring” .

  4. Genaral Relativity and Cosmology: Mr. Pratik Tarafdar for the poster “Influence of disc geometry on shocked accretion” .

  5. Instrumentation : Mr. Ashish Mhaske for the poster “Horn antenna and Software Defined Radio for detecting 21 cm hydrogen line” .

The Best Poster Award from Indian Academy of Sciences for the year 2017 has been awarded to following during 35th Annual Meeting of ASI :
1. Ms. Nishtha Sachdeva from discipline Sun and the Solar System for the Poster CME Propagation Dynamics: Relative importance of Lorentz forces and solar wind drag . The award consists of Springer eBook worth 220 Euros and cash prize of Rs. 2500/-
2. Ms. Vinita Navalkar from discipline Instrumentation and Techniques for the poster Development of sputtering system for fabrication of thin film multilayer optics of hard X-RAY TELESCOPE. The award consists of Springer eBook worth 200 Euros and cash prize of Rs. 2500/-

A set of five awards has been instituted for the poster presentations during General Body Meeting of 34th Annual Meeting of Astronomical Society of India, Kashmir University, Srinagar. Each award consists of Rs. 5,000/- and a certificate, and will be presented to the authors of the poster adjudged to be the best in each of the following disciplines:

The Best Poster Award for the year 2016 has been awarded to following:

  1. Sun and Solar System : Mr. Rakesh Chandra Narwa for the poster “Statistical analysis of meteoroid fragmentation during the Geminid and Leonid Meteor showers” .

  2. Stars and the Galaxy : Mr. Kishalay De for the poster “The puzzling orbital period evolution of the LMXB AX J1745.6-2901”.

  3. Extragalactic Astronomy : Ruta Kale for the poster “Spectra of brightest cluster galaxies” .

  4. Genaral Relativity and Cosmology: Priyanka Singh for the poster “Suppression of galactic outflows by cosmological infall/circumgalactic medium” .

  5. Instrumentation : Anshu Kumari for the poster “Crosspolarized Log-Periodic Dipole Antenna for Low Frequency Solar Observations” .

A set of five awards has been instituted for the poster presentations during General Body Meeting of 33rd Annual Meeting of Astronomical Society of India, NCRA Pune. Each award consists of Rs. 5,000/- and a certificate, and will be presented to the authors of the poster adjudged to be the best in each of the following disciplines:

  1. Sun and the Solar System
  2. Stars and the Galaxy
  3. Extragalactic Astronomy
  4. General Relativity and cosmology
  5. Instrumentation and Techniques

The Best Poster Award for the year 2015 has been awarded to following:

  1. Sun and Solar System : Mr. Vaibhav Pant for the poster “Transverse Oscillations in coronal rain” and Ms. Supriya Hebbur Dayanandafor the poster "1-D modeling of the Center-to-limb variation of the Stokes profiles of the Ca I 4227 A line" .

  2. Stars and the Galaxy : Mr. Arun Kumar Naidu for the poster “Interesting nulling behaviour of PSR J1709-1640”.

  3. Extragalactic Astronomy : Ms. Sheelu Abraham for the poster “Photometric Redshifts of Quasars from SDSS ” and Mr.Kartick Chnandra Sarkar for the poster “Effect of hot halo gas on supernovae driven outflows” .

  4. Genaral Relativity and Cosmology: Shishir Sankhyayan for the poster "Extremely Large Scale Structures in Galaxies Redshift Surveys" .
  5. Instrumentation : Mr. Prasanna Deshmukh for the poster “Dynamic loading assembly for performance testing of Segmented Mirror Telescope Actuators” and Mr. Tanmoy Cattopadhyay for the poster “Development of a Hard X-ray Focal Plane Compton Polarimeter” .

A set of four awards has been instituted for the poster presentations at the scientific meetings of the society. Each award consists of Rs. 5,000/- and a certificate, and will be presented to the authors of the poster adjudged to be the best in each of the following disciplines:

  1. Sun and the Solar System
  2. Stars and the Galaxy
  3. Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology
  4. Instrumentation

The Best Poster Award for the year 2014 has been awarded to following:

  1. Sun and the Solar System : Mr. S. Krishna Prasad for the poster “Spectroscopic studies of coronal loops”

  2. Stars and the Galaxy : Mr. Tapas Baug for the poster “Is semi-regular variable UZ Ariteis asymmetric ?”

  3. Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology : Mr. Samyaday Choudhury for the poster “What is the metallicity map tell us about the evolution of the LMC ?”

  4. Instrumentation : Mr. Kuldeep Kumar Yadav for the poster “Disp analysis procedure for the TACTIC gamma ray telescope”

K. D. Abhyankar Best presentation of thesis at the ASI meetings:

This award has been instituted by the society to encourage the participation of young astronomers who have completed their theses during the last two years preceding a scientific meeting of the ASI.

These participants are given a set time slot to present the details of their respective theses at an appropriate scientific meeting of the ASI and a panel of judges duly appointed by the executive council of the society in consultation with the scientific organising committee of that meeting, shall select the best presentation.

The prize consists of a certificate, a cash award of Rs. 20,000/- and a book which is normally donated by the member(s) of ASI.

The naming of the prize in honour of Prof. K. D. Abhyankar was done by the General Body during ASI meeting in 2011.

The K D Abhyankar Best Thesis Presentation for the year 2017 has been awarded to the following:

  1. Dr. Sajal Kumar Dhara

  2. Dr. Priyanka Chaturvedi

The K D Abhyankar Best Thesis Presentation for the year 2016 has been awarded to the following:

  1. Dr. S. Athiray

The K D Abhyankar Best Thesis Presentation for the year 2015 has been awarded to the following:

  1. Dr. S. Krishna Prasad

  2. Dr. Prashant Mohan

The K D Abhyankar Best Thesis Presentation for the year 2014 has been awarded to the following:

  1. Dr. Arunima Banerjee

  2. Dr. V Panditi

Justice Oak Award for Outstanding Thesis in Astronomy:

The society gives the Justice V.G. Oak Award for outstanding Ph.D. thesis in Astronomy by an Indian student. The nominations for this award may be made by senior scientists, directors or heads of institutes or observatories engaged in research in astronomy, astrophysics, planetary sciences and allied fields. The thesis should have been formally submitted in the year preceeding the year of the award. The award consists of books and a medal.

The objectives of the award is to encourage excellence amongst research students in India, and the award is given on the adjudication by a Standing Committee appointed by the ASI. The nominations should include a summary of the scientific work constituting the thesis, a statement regarding why the nominator considers the thesis outstanding, the curriculum vitae of the candidate and a signed letter by the nominator.

This award was instituted in the year 2002, and the following is the list of awardees:

2010 Dr. Sanjiv Kumar Tiwari The softcopy of thesis is here
2011 Dr. Girjesh Gupta & Dr. Manash Samal The summary of thesis by Dr. Girjesh Gupta is here

The summary of thesis by Dr. Manash Samal is here
2012 Dr. Arunima Banerjee The summary of thesis is here
2013 Dr. Bidya Karak The summary of thesis is here
2014 Dr. Vemareddy Panditi The summary of thesis is here
2015 Dr. Rupal Basak  

Modali Endowment Lecture:

This endowment lecture has been instituted by the society through a fund donated by Dr. Sarma B. Modali. The lecture under this endowment may be on any topic in Astronomy. The selection for this endowment lecture is done by the Executive Council, who may utilise the suggestions made by the members of the Society.

R. C. Gupta Endowment Lecture:

This endowment lecture has been instituted by the society through a fund donated by Prof.R.C. Gupta. The lecture under this endowment may specifically be on the history of astronomy. The selection for this endowment lecture is done by the executive council, who may utilise the suggestions made by the members of the Society.

R. C. Gupta Endowment Lecture 2013
Wednesday, November 20 at 6:30pm
IUCAA, Pune

Who first discovered Helium in the Sun?



By
Dr. Biman Nath, Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru

Helium was the first element ever discovered by astronomers. Its presence was first indicated in the Sun and not on Earth.This discovery also marked the birth of the new science of astrophysics. However, it turns out that the events leading to the discovery of helium has been rather misrepresented in books, journals, and even encyclopaedias. The usual story about its joint discovery during a solar eclipse in 1868 by French astronomer Pierre Janssen at Guntoor in India and later in England by Norman Lockyer, is far from the truth. Janssen never mentioned any signature of a new element in the solar spectrum in his reports. The actual story turns to be as dramatic as in fiction, and yet, the story is now remembered only in fragments, that too in a distorted form. In reality, it was from Machilipatnam and not Guntoor that Norman Pogson first saw the signatures of helium, but his name has been completely forgotten in the discovery story. In this talk Dr. Nath will try to reconstruct the events leading to the discovery of helium in the Sun, and also discuss the possible reasons why a folklore has replaced the real story.

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