Astronomy, Cosmology and Gravity

Astronomy, Cosmology and Gravity (ACG)

(Image credits: LIGO/Caltech/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet) )

Varun Bhalerao works in the fields of observational astrophysics and instrumentation. His current primary focus is the search and study astrophysical transients, and the electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources. For this purpose, his colleagues and he built the 0.7m fully autonomous optical telescope at Hanle, Ladakh as a part of the GROWTH-India project. He is part of the team that built AstroSat, and is responsible for the detection and study of transients with CZTI. He is currently exploring the possibility of building a space instrument at IIT Bombay. More details about his work can be found here.

Keywords: Astrophysics, Transients, Gravitational Waves, Instrumentation


Archana Pai works in gravitational wave physics and astronomy. The main research focus is developing detection algorithms for the modeled as well as unmodeled astrophysical gravitational wave sources, probing astrophysical parameters using interferometric detectors such as LIGO, Virgo etc as well as from joint observation of events in gravitational wave and electromagnetic window and developing optimal multi-detector techniques for compact binaries with neutron stars and black holes. The group is a member of LIGO Scientific Collaboration and is currently involved in the intermediate mass black hole binary search with the joint observational data.  For details on the list of compact binary merger events observed by the LIGO-Virgo network can be found here.

Keywords: Gravitational Wave Astrophysics, Signal Processing, Testing General Relativity


Vikram Rentala is a particle-astrophysicist interested in understanding the nature of the mysterious dark matter that appears to constitute most of the mass of the universe. His main interests are 1) Exploring cosmological and astrophysical signatures of dark matter self-interactions, 2) Looking for signals of dark matter annihilations and decays in cosmic rays, 3) Understanding the impact of astrophysical uncertainties on direct detection searches for dark matter, and 4) Searching for dark matter at particle colliders (such as at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN). More details about his research can be found here.

Keywords: Dark Matter, cosmology, particle astrophysics


Shankaranarayanan's fields of interest are gravitational physics and quantum field theory, with emphasis on early-universe, cosmology and black-holes. His work has focused on (i) understanding the origin of micro-Gauss strength magnetic fields in the galaxies and clusters of galaxies, (ii) Using cosmic microwave background as a tool to probe new physics near the scale of inflation and (iii) Quantum entanglement as a source of black-hole entropy. (iv) Fluid-gravity correspondence. More about his work can be found here.

Keywords: Early Universe Cosmology, blackhole physics, modified gravity, magnetogenesis