Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan took his Bachelor of Science with Honours and Master of Science degrees in Physics from Bombay University and received his Doctorate Degree in Experimental High Energy Astronomy in 1971 working at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. He is presently the Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) at Bangalore, Honorary Professor of Physics, Physical Research Laborary, Ahmedabad and at the Jawarharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research at Bangalore.
For over 9 years until 2003, Dr. Kasturirangan steered the Indian Space programme as Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Under his leadership, the programme witnessed several major milestones including the successful launching and operationalisation of the India’s prestigious launch vehicles, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. Further, he also oversaw the development and launching of some of the world’s best civilian remote sensing satellites, IRS-1C and 1D, realization of new generation INSAT communication satellites, besides ocean observation satellites IRS-P3/P4. These efforts have put India as a pre-eminent space-faring nation among the handful of six countries that have major space programmes.
Dr. Kasturirangan is a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics and served as its Vice President. He is a Member of the International Astronomical Union and a Fellow of Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences and served as its President during 2001-03. He is Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering and was its President during 2005-06. He was also General President of the Indian Science Congress for the years 2002-2003. Besides, he is the Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and the National Academy of Sciences of India. He is the Honorary Fellow of the Cardiff University, UK; an Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City and the Trustee of the Nehru Trust for Cambridge University.
He was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras from 2000-2005. Presently, he is the Chairman of Council of the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore. Also he is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Raman Research Institute, Indian Institute of Astrophysics at Bangalore as well as of the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences at Nainital. Dr. K Kasturirangan was a Member in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, and was also a member in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy and Consultative Committee on Human Resource Development. He is currently the Chairman, Karnataka Knowledge Commission; Member, Karnataka Vision 2020. He is the President, India-Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship Group and Member, India-China Eminent Persons’ Group.
He has published more than 244 papers in the areas of astronomy, space science and applications, delivered 61 Convocation Addresses in various universities of the country and also is the recipient of Honorary Doctorate from 16 universities, including Banaras Hindu University, Anna University, IIT- Bombay, University of Calcutta, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Mysore University and SRM University. He delivered nearly 304 public and memorial lectures. More recently, he was one among the four global personalities and the only Asian to deliver a Keynote Address on ‘Potential of Space Technology to serve Humankind: coming 50 years’ at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris during the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Sputnik organized by International Astronautical Federation and UNESCO.