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Shrinivas R. (Shri) Kulkarni

George Ellery Hale Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science

Mail Code: MC 249-17
Office: 238 Cahill Astrophysics
Phone: 626-395-4010
Email: srk@​
Administrative Assistant:

More Information

M.S., Indian Institute of Technology, 1978; Ph.D., University of California, 1983; D.h.c., Radboud University. Millikan Research Fellow in Radio Astronomy, Caltech, 1985-87; Assistant Professor of Astronomy, 1987-90; Associate Professor, 1990-92; Professor, 1992-96; Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science, 1996-2001; MacArthur Professor, 2001-17; Hale Professor, 2017-; Executive Officer for Astronomy, 1997-2000. Director of Caltech Optical Observatories, 2006-18.
Research Areas: Planetary Science

Research Interests

Cosmic explosions, gamma ray bursts, optical transients; neutron stars-pulsars, millisecond pulsars, X-ray binaries; extra-solar planetary systems: detection and formation; high resolution imaging at optical and IR wavelengths; instrumentation and signal processing.
Over the past nearly two decades, along with my current students, post-doctoral fellows, long-term associates and former students and post-doctoral scholars, I have worked on millisecond pulsars, old neutron stars, young neutron stars, brown dwarfs, soft gamma-ray repeaters, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts and new types of optical transients. I love surfing the electromagnetic spectrum and building new gizmos My publications can be found via ADS or Astroph. A CV and bibliography can be found here. Information to contact me can be found here .

During 2007, my teaching schedule is as follows: (Fall) visiting IAS, Princeton, (Winter) "Astronomical Techniques" and (Spring) "High Energy Astrophysics". I take keen interest in the academic life of the Astronomy graduate students and was the Option Rep (relinquishing Jan 1, 2006). I have been involved in graduate admissions.

I hold a McArthur Professorhip in Astronomy & Planetary Science. Starting 2006, I have served as Director of the Caltech Optical Observatories (which include Palomar, the W. M. Keck Observatory partnership and the Thirty Meter Telescope partnership). Starting 2007 I am an Andrew D. White Professor-at-large at Cornell University.

I have a life-long interest in interferometry. In November 2003, I assumed the position of Science Director for the Michelson Science Center. I am co-PI (with Mike Shao) on Extra-Solar Planet Interferometric Survey (EPICs), one of the key projects of the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) for extra-solar planets as well as the Interdisciplinary Scientist for SIM. I am PI of PHASES, a key project on the Palomar Testbed Interferometer, and perhaps the best astrometric planet search on this planet.

Over time I have drifted from radio astronomy to optical astronomy. I love using telescopes and am familiar with Arecibo Observatory, the Very Large Array, Parkes Observatory , Palomar Observatory, and Keck Observatory. I serve on the Keck Operations Group.

Along with Dale Frail , and my Caltech colleague Fiona Harrison, I have an active "Cosmic Explosions" program centered around the VLA, Palomar, Keck and several other telescopes all over the world. Harrison and I spearheaed an efforr to roboticize the Palomar 60-inch | telescope . This program is dedicated the study of transient objects particularly in coordination with the SWIFT hard X-ray mission.

An important part of my academic life at Caltech are the Monday lunches . I meet my theory colleagues (usually Phinney, Kaminokowski and Sari; Goldreich, when in town and occasionally, Thorne), theory postdocs and students every Monday at 12 noon. We have a free wheeling discussion on recent results in literature and summaries of recent conferences.
  • "1% inspiration + 99% sweat --> achievement" (ref: A. Einstein)
  • "Learn one new idea every day". (SRK motto)
  • "Given a sufficiently large telescope, a sufficiently idiotic astronomer can always make a discovery. (How to make astronomers feel insecure)

Selected Publications