BENGALURU: Dr G C Anupama, Senior Professor (Dean) from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, on Monday became the first woman to be elected president of Astronomical Society of India (ASI), prime association of professional astronomers in the country.
She is the second Kannadiga after former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Prof U R Rao.Anupama will be taking over charge on Tuesday.Being in-charge of the Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanle in Ladakh, she observes supernovae occurring in distant galaxies, millions of light years away — something she has done for several years.
She is the India group head of an international team of scientists that is building a 30-metre telescope at a cost of over $1 billion in Hawaii, USA.Anupama told The New Indian Express that she was elected as the new president as the Society had faith in her abilities to fulfil her role in the premier Indian astronomical body.
She will succeed R K Tyagi as the new president of ASI.Having been associated with the telescope at the Hanle Observatory in Ladakh — one of the few telescopes to be located at such high altitudes in the world -- she studies the initial physical conditions after a supernova.“We try and understand the outburst by analysing the type of star that might have caused it and other topics regarding the same,” she said.
Currently, she is also studying ‘transients’ — objects that brighten up for a brief period of time before going dark in space.To a question on the number of women in the niche fields of astronomy and astrophysics, she said although the ratio of women to men is low among the staff at IIA, the ratio was commensurate when it came to the students at the Institute.
She is the recipient of Sir CV Raman Young Scientist Award in 2001 and is a fellow of National Academy of Sciences.She completed her PhD in 1991 from IIA and has been a faculty member at the institute since 1994.