Dr. Rajagopala Chidambaram

Former Principal scientific adviser to Government of India,
Former director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

Twenty-two years ago, a sudden announcement literally shook the world and turned India's world upside down. On 11th and 13th May 1998, India conducted a set of five nuclear tests, stunning the world. Those tests set India on a road that led to a global acknowledgement of India, not merely as a nuclear power. They provided the basis for reconciliation with the global nuclear order, and redefined our relationship with the US." Pokhran-II (AKA Operation Shakti-98) was the name assigned to the series of tests that comprised one fusion bomb and four fission bombs, whereas Pokhran-I( AKA Smiling Buddha) was the assigned code name of India's first successful nuclear bomb test on 18 May 1974.

Dr. Rajagopala Chidambaram is one of the leading Indian Physicist who is known for his integral role in India's nuclear weapons program; he coordinated test preparations for both Pokhran-I and Pokhran-II. He has previously served as principal scientific adviser to the federal Government of India, the director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and as chairman, Atomic Energy Commission of the Government of India.

Dr. Chidambaram was chairman of the board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and was also a member of the Commission of Eminent Persons. He has been bestowed with both Padma Vibushan and Padma Shri for his relentless work in his field, and his long list of awards and accolades goes on and on.



Former Distinguished Director & Programme Director-Satellite Navigation (ISRO),
FORMER Chairman, GAGAN - PMB, ISRO Satellite Centre
Prof.Satish Dhawan Professor & Senior Advisor, Satellite Navigation Program
Vice Chancellor - Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, Pune

Dr. Surendra Pal, a pioneer in the field of Microwave, Antenna & RF communication, and an accomplished academician - is a great visionary of India's future in the field of science and space technology. He served as Program Director - Satellite Navigation Programme at ISRO, as the President of Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers India.

Dr. Pal is the main driving force behind the development of all Indian Satellite based telecommunication systems starting from Aryabhat to IRS, INSAT, GSAT, Low Earth Orbit series of spacecrafts and Chandrayaan 1 mission. He spear-headed the Indian Satellite Based Wide Area Augmentation System - GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation System) from infancy to blossom and Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) for aviation activities for civilian & restricted users. His team worked for Mars Orbiter Mission's (MoM) on-board communication systems.

Dr Pal is widely respected for his knowledge and the same in his various areas of expertise, has been utilized as a consultant, by a number of national and international organizations. During his 43 years career at ISRO, he developed a number of innovative technologies that is appraised throughout the country. He received a number of awards including the IEEE-2010 Judith A. Resnik Award, BITS Pilani Distinguished Alumni Award, and numerous others.



Professor, California Institute of Technology

Dr. Rana Adhikari is Indian-American Astrophysicist and professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology. He was born in India. He obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Florida and Ph.D. in physics from MIT. His interests lies in fundamental physics, including tests of gravity and quantum mechanics. He is a member of the LIGO team and 2018 Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society. His group focuses on further improving LIGO's measurements of black holes by exploring the limits of quantum measurements, and using those black holes to measure the shape of the universe. Dr. Adhikari had served as an adjunct professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and since 2004 worked as assistant professor, and later, Professor at Caltech.

He is a world-leading expert on the experimental physics of gravitational-wave detection and is among the key scientists responsible for the success of the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), which made the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015. He was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in New Horizons in fundamental physics "for research on present and future ground-based detectors of gravitational waves". He is a close associate of the Indian gravitational-wave community and is actively involved in the LIGO-India project, which aims to build a gravitational-wave observatory in India. Professor Adhikari's lab at Caltech has been hosting several Indian students under the LIGO-IndIGO Summer Students Program.

His webinar talk will be based on "Black holes backlighting the Hidden Quantum Structure of Space-Time". In this talk he will demonstrate how we can use enormous energy released in black-hole mergers to illuminate the universe.