Leading string-theorist Professor Rajesh Gopakumar of the Department of Physics, Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI), Allahabad, has won the 23rd G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research for 2013.
Instituted in 1991 by the K.K. Birla Foundation to recognise high-calibre scientific research by Indian scientists living and working in India who are under 50, the award has a cash component of Rs.1.5 lakh.
Professor Gopakumar (46) is a theoretical physicist who graduated from IIT, Kanpur, before undertaking doctoral work at Princeton University.
He took his Ph.D. in 1997 and, after being a research associate at Harvard University, joined HRI in 2001. A media release issued by the K.K. Birla Foundation noted that Professor Gopakumar has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of string theory, quantum field theory and mathematics.
In 2004, he started a programme to understand how open closed string duality is implemented in an arbitrary large N guage theory.
He is the recipient of the 2004 B.M. Birla Science Prize; the 2006 ICTP Prize awarded by the Abdus Salam centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste; the 2006 Swarnajayanthi Fellowship of the Department of Science and Technology; the S.S. Bhatnagar Award in 2009; and the TWAS award in Physical Sciences, 2013.
He was elected a member of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2009 and the Indian National Science Academy in 2010.