Abhay Ashtekar – An Inspiration For Every Indian

Once again an Indian made a mark in the history with his outstanding achievement. Abhay Ashtekar, an Indian born American professor received the prestigious Einstein prize.
  • It was a proud moment for every Indian when Abhay Ashtekar, an Indian born and bought up in a small town named Kolhapur in Maharashtra state, received the prestigious Einstein prize.
  • The prize was established by the American Physical Society (APS) in 1999.
  • APS rules and eligibility criteria states, the award is given for outstanding achievement, in theory, experiment or observation in the area of gravitational physics.
  • The award prize consists of 10,000$ and he received the award on 23rd October 2018.
  • He plans to spend the prize money by contributing to scientific societies, according to his reply given in an email interview with a local newspaper. He also mentioned that he has used honoraria and prizes in the past to contribute to scientific societies, e.g. to the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation to support travel expenses of the `Young Scientist Gold Medal’ winners, to the triennial international conferences of the Society.
  • No matter what the hurdles, you have the capability to make a difference when you follow your passion with all your heart and hard work. Abhay Ashtekar proved this with his achievement. Kolhapur, the city he was born in, is a very small city that is dominated by a very distinct style of Marathi language.
  • Having a rich cultural background, Abhay Ashtekar was aware of only Marathi literature till the age of 11. Hindi and English literature were introduced later in his life.
  • Physics piqued his interest and he moved forward to follow the same.
  • He enrolled in the graduate program for gravitation, at the University of Texas at Austin and then completed his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
  • In graduate school, he chose to work in general relativity, cosmology and quantum physics because he thought those areas covered the most fundamental questions about space, time and the nature of the physical universe were discussed.
  • Starting from a small city with many challenges on the path to receiving the prestigious Einstein prize, the journey of Abhay Ashtekar has been remarkable and an inspiration for every Indian.
  • Currently, Abhay Ashtekar is the Eberly professor of physics and director of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at the Pennsylvania State University.
  • He also authored and co-authored over 270 scientific paper along with writing or co-editing nine scientific books.
  • He received this prestigious award only after four years of starting his scientific engagement with gravitational science.
  • The APS cited, the prize was received by Ashtekar”For numerous and seminal contributions to general relativity, including the theory of black holes, canonical quantum gravity, and quantum cosmology.
ASHTEKAR ’S VIEW: When Ashtekar was asked about his emotions regarding the award, he answered by saying it will be recognized as a “Lifetime achievement”. When asked about the status of physicists in India for producing world-class research, his response was filled with a lot of pride and affection.
  • He disclosed in the email interview with a local newspaper about his role model.   
  • From Bob Geroch, He got clarity of thoughts and the capability to develop his own, fresh perspectives.
  • From Roger Penrose, he learned the art of `dreaming’ –the mysterious process by which one gropes in the dark and grasps the key structures even before they have come into light.
  • From Chandrasekhar, he learned the meaning of  `inner, moral fiber’ in a scientist.
  • His life work and achievements have been listed on the website stated in Pennstate Department of Physics website is http://cgpg.gravity.psu.edu/people/Ashtekar/
Abhay Ashtekar’s research and discoveries have given a different perspective to not just a particular country but the whole generation and future generation. Indians have excelled in many areas across the world and he just made another achievement for India as a country. Abhay Ashtekar is looked upon as role model for all our millennial aspiring to make a difference in the world.

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