University of Wisconsin-Madison

Subir Sarkar recognized with the Homi Bhabha Award

Subir Sarkar, the 2017 Homi Bhabha Award recipient.
Subir Sarkar, the 2017 Homi Bhabha Award recipient.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, India have given the 2017 Homi Bhabha Award to Subir Sarkar, an IceCube collaborator and a professor of physics at both the universities of Oxford and Copenhagen, for his “distinguished contributions in the field of high energy cosmic ray physics and astro-particle physics over an extended academic career.” Prof. Sarkar will receive the award certificate and medal during the inauguration session of the International Cosmic Ray Conference, on July 20, 2017, in Busan, South Korea.

Subir, who was born and educated in India, heads the Particle Theory Group at the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics at Oxford and also the Astroparticle Physics Group at the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) in Copenhagen. He is one of the pioneering theoreticians who also works on experiments that drive research in astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics. Subir joined IceCube from its inception in 2004 and has worked tirelessly to make substantive contributions to the experiment, which have led to real progress. He was a key contributor to the IceCube “Yellow Book,” a document covering IceCube’s research potential and based on technical insights into the instrumentation with a wide vision of science. Several of his theoretical papers are central to IceCube analyses, e.g., his calculation of the deep inelastic scattering cross section of neutrinos at high energies, and of the expected flux of ‘cosmogenic’ neutrinos.

“This is a great honor, especially since I did my PhD at TIFR many years ago. It has been a long journey since then and I have always believed that the journey is itself the reward,” says Subir. “It has been a particularly rewarding experience to work with the IceCube Collaboration that sets a real example with its collegiality and support for young researchers.”

From right to left, Subir Sarkar, his wife Amanda, and the late Per Olof Hulth (who encouraged Subir to set up a new IceCube group in Copenhagen). Image by Teresa Hulth.
From right to left, Subir Sarkar, his wife Amanda, and the late Per Olof Hulth (who encouraged Subir to set up a new IceCube group in Copenhagen). Image by Teresa Hulth.

The Bhabha award acknowledges a lifetime’s work in cosmic ray physics. Colleagues highlight Subir’s contributions as some of the most imaginative in the field. He has also worked on the Pierre Auger Observatory for cosmic rays and is a member of the Cherenkov Telescope Array collaboration.

Subir Sarkar is the fourth recipient of the Homi Bhabha Award, which in 2015 recognized the work of another IceCube collaborator, Tom Gaisser from the University of Delaware.

This award was created in 2010 during the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, founder of TIFR and a renowned scientist who made breakthrough contributions to the field, including setting up large-scale experimental programs for the study of cosmic rays and their interactions, with instruments flown on balloons and in laboratories both at high altitude as well as deep underground.

+ info Read about the Homi Bhabha Award on the TIFR website.