Prof. Govind Swarup – A Living Legend of Indian Science

Meher Wan

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PROF. GOVIND SWARUP is a renowned radio astronomer and one of the pioneers of radio astronomy. But apart from his scientific contributions to the field of radio astronomy and astrophysics, he is also well known for his contributions in indigenously designing, building and establishing powerful observational facilities like the Ooty Radio Telescope and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). With a baseline of 25 kilometres, GMRT was the largest interferometric telescopic array of the world at the time of its establishment (1955).

Under his leadership, India gained a very high repute in radio astronomy among the world scientific community. For his contributions, Prof. Swarup was awarded the Padma Shri from the Indian government and Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) England apart from numerous other prestigious awards around the globe.

Prof. Govind Swarup was born in the small village of Thakurdwara, Uttar Pradesh in 1929. After completing his BSc and MSc degrees from Allahabad University, he moved to Stanford University, USA for his PhD under the guidance of Prof. Ronald N. Bracewell. In the meantime, he also worked in National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, CSIRO, Australia and Harvard University, USA at various research positions. He joined assistant professorship at Stanford University in 1961 but at the request of Prof. Homi J. Bhabha, he returned to India in 1963 to contribute in building a scientific India. 

In an email interview given to Science Reporter, he talks about his scientific journey...Read more