I am currently the John D. & Catherine T. McArthur Professor of Astronomy & Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology. My research interests are two fold: compact objects (neutron stars, millisecond pulsars, gamma-ray bursts) and cosmic explosions. I obtained my first degree, MS (Physics), at the Indian Institute of Technology in 1978 and my PhD in radio astronomy at U. C. Berekeley (1983). After a brief post-doctoral stint at U. C. Berkeley I joined Caltech as Millikan Fellow (1985) and joined the faculty in 1987. Between 1997 and 2000 I served as the Executive Officer for Astronomy. I assumed the Directorship of the Caltech Optical Observatories in 2006.

I am also the Director of NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NEXSCI). In 2007 I was appointed as AD White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.


  • Honorary Fellowship, Indian Academy of Sciences (2011)
  • Fellow, National Academy of Sciences (2003)
  • Jansky Lecturer, Associated Universities (2002)
    The Jansky Lectureship is awarded each year by the Trustees of Associated Universities, Inc., to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of astronomy. First awarded in 1966, it is named in honor of the man who, in 1932, first detected radio waves from a cosmic source. Karl Jansky's discovery of radio waves from the central region of our Milky Way Galaxy started the science of radio astronomy.

  • Fellow, Royal Society (2001)
    I was inducted into the Royal Society of London in recognition of my discovery of the first millisecond pulsar, the first brown dwarf and contributions to the field of high energy transients -- soft gamma ray repeaters and gamma ray bursts.

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1994)
    Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an international learned society composed of the world's leading scientists, scholars, artists, business people, and public leaders.

  • Alan T. Waterman Award (1992)
    This is awarded by the National Science Foundation and is given once a year to the most accomplished scientist/doctor/engineer (all fields) working in the US and under the age of 35 years. Clearly, a lot of luck in winning this jackpot.

  • Helen B. Warner Prize (1991)
    This is annually awarded by the American Astronomical Society who has made outstanding contributions to astronomy and astrophysics. I received this award in recognition of my work on globular clusters.

  • David and Lucille Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (1990)
    Every year, the Packard Foundation awards 20 Fellowships across all sciences and engineering to those considered outstanding (and within three years of their appointment to a faculty position).

  • Vainu Bappu Award (1990)
    Awarded by the Astronomical Society of India to an astronomer under the age of 35 years and who has made outstanding contributions to astronomy and astrophysics.

    Other awards include a Distinguished Alumni Award (IIT Delhi, 1996) and the NSF Presidential Award (1988).

    I am member of the International Astronomcial Union and the American Astronomical Society.