The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award on IIT Bombay alumnus and Member of Board of Governors, IIT Bombay Prof. Rohini M. Godbole from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Prof. Sharada Srinivasan, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) during the 70th Republic Day on Jaunuary 26, 2019. Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the country awarded for notable contributions in various disciplines by the Government of India, every year on Republic Day. This year, the President of India has approved conferment of 94 Padma Shri Awards, out of which two of the awards have been conferred on IIT Bombay alumni.
Prof. Rohini Godbole, a 1974 silver medallist and Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Bombay, has made outstanding contributions to fundamental scientific research, specifically the theory of elementary particle physics. Her work on high energy photons could form the basis for the next generation of particle colliders, used to study the fabric and composition of the Universe.
Prof. Godbole has been on the Board of Governors of IIT Bombay since June 2015. She is a part of the International Detector Advisory Group for the International Linear Collider (ILC) at CERN, which monitors the design and working of the ILC detector. For the past three decades, her work has resulted in more than 300 research publications. She is a member of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, USA, and is a recipient of many national and international awards, besides being the fellow of all three prestigious science academies in India.
Prof. Godbole is also the Chairperson of the ‘Panel for Women in Science’ initiative of the Indian Academy of Sciences. She is very vocal about gender equity in scientific careers. She has edited the book ‘Lilavati’s Daughters’, a biographical essay collection on Indian women scientists. She is also a renowned science communicator who enjoys talking about physics and delivering talks to students, researchers and scientists.
Prof. Sharada Srinivasan is a Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru. She has made pioneering contributions to the study of archaeology and history of art from the perspective of exploring engineering applications in these disciplines, She has earned her PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (1996) on Archaeometallurgy of South Indian bronzes; MA from School of Oriental & African Studies, London (1989) and BTech in Engineering Physics from IIT Bombay (1987).
Prof. Sharada Srinivasan’s landmark contributions include archaeometric characterisation of bronzes of South India using lead isotope analysis, archaeometallurgical studies on ancient mining and metallurgy in southern India, studies on wootz steel and documenting artisanal technologies such as mirror making and bronze casting at Swamimalai and so on, having worked on artefacts in the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Government Museum, Chennai and so on.
Prof. Sharada Srinivasan is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and World Academy of Art and Science. She has many awards to her credit, few of the prominent ones include the Dr. Kalpana Chawla Young Women Scientist Award for 2011, the Indian Institute of Metals, Certificate of Excellence 2007 and Materials Research Society of India Medal 2006, the Malti B. Nagar Ethnoarchaeology Award (2005), and the DST-SERC Young Scientist Fellowship, the Flinders Petrie Medal 1989 from University of London, the Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award 1996, the DST Nurture Scheme and Young Scientist Awards. She has been a Forbes Research Associate at the Department of Scientific Research and Conservation, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, USA in 1999 and Homi Bhabha Fellow at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore from 1996-98.
She is first author of the book ‘India’s Legendary Wootz Steel: An advanced material of the ancient world’ and author of more than 60 research papers. She is also an acclaimed performer of Bharata Natyam and has given numerous lecture-demonstrations such as the artistic and scientific perspectives on the Nataraja bronze.