Confirmed Speakers

Focal Theme Session- Special Lecture

Prof. Konstantin Novoselov
Nobel Laureate 2010

Sir Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselovis a Russian-British physicist, and Professor at the Centre for Advanced 2D MaterialsNational University of Singapore.  He is also the Langworthy Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. His work on graphene with Andre Geim earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. KostyaNovoselov’s research interests cover a wide range of topics from mesoscopic superconductivity and ferromagnetism to materials science and biophysics. He studied vortex structures in mesoscopic superconductors, observed atomic-scale movements of ferromagnetic walls, monitored heartbeats of individual bacteria and mimicked gecko’s adhesion mechanism. His breakthrough moment was the discovery of graphene. \

Novoselov is now widely recognised to be one of the pioneers in this field (as a number of international awards prove) and, together with Prof Geim FRS, leads research on various applications of this new material ranging from electronics, photonics, composite materials, chemistry, etc. Prof. Novoselov is strongly committed to disseminating science through public lectures and media interviews.

Novoselov has published 376 peer-reviewed research papers on several topics including mesoscopicsuperconductivity  subatomic movements of magnetic domain walls, the discovery of gecko tape  and graphene. Novoselov is one of Directors of the National Graphene Institute and sits on the International Scientific Advisory Committee of Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies. Novoselov is also a recipient of a starting grant  from the European Research Council.  In 2014 Kostya Novoselov was included in the list of the most highly cited researchers. He was also named among the 17 hottest researchers worldwide—”individuals who have published the greatest number of hot papers during 2012–2013″.

Focal Theme Session- Invited Lecture

Prof. V. K. Ramachandran
Vice Chairperson, Kerala State Planning Board

Prof. VK Ramachandran has previously served as the Head and Professor of the Economic Analysis Unit at the Indian Statistical Institute. His areas of interest are research in development economics, agrarian relations, agrarian issues, rural development, labor issues in the Indian economy, class, caste, tribe, gender discrimination and other forms of social oppression in India. He is the editor of the Review of Agrarian Studies.

Focal Theme Session- Invited Lecture

Shri S Somanath
Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization

Sreedhara Panicker Somanath was born in July 1963 and did his schooling at St. Augustine’s High School, Aroor. Somanath received his graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam and Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore with a Gold Medal. He joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for the Integration of PSLV during the early phases.

Shri. Somanath assumed charge as Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission after a stint of four years as the Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananathapuram. He also served as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, for two and half years. He is the recipient of the ‘Space Gold Medal’ from the Astronautical Society of India. He received the ‘Merit Award” and ‘Performance Excellence award’ from ISRO and a ‘Team excellence award’ for GSLV Mk-III development. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Astronautical Society of India (ASI), and a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He is in the bureau of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and a recipient of the National Aeronautics Prize from the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI).

Somanath is known for his contributions to launch vehicle design, particularly in the areas of launch vehicle systems engineering, structural design, structural dynamics, and pyrotechnics. He has published papers in journals & seminars in structural dynamics and control, dynamic analysis of separation mechanisms, vibration & acoustic testing, launch vehicle design, and launch services management.


Confirmed Speakers:

Dr. ThanuPadmanabhan Memorial Lecture

Dr P. Sreekumar
Former Director, Indian Institute of AstroPhysics (IIAP), Bangalore

Dr. P. Sreekumar is currently the SatishDhawan Professor at ISRO Headquarters.  Dr. Sreekumar had officiated at various capacities as the Div. Head / Group Director, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore; Former Director of the Indian Institute of AstroPhysics (IIAP), Bangalore, Research scientist for 10 years at Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, USA and Co-PI of India’s first dedicated astronomy observatory, ASTROSAT. Dr. Sreekumar is an expert in Space Science payload design and development ; X-ray ML optics; solar coronal abundance, extragalactic gamma-ray background, emission from active galactic nuclei ; lunar science. He has been the Principal Investigator of payloads on lunar missions and currently participates as member/Chair of many review committees, linked to Space Science missions of ISRO. He is also part of many senior-level management committees of international programs with Indian collaborations, including the LIGO-India program, the SKA-India and the India-TMT programs. Dr. Sreekumar has many awards and accolades to his credit including NASA Group Achievement award, Universities Space Research Association Scientific Excellence award and International Academy of Astronautics – Laurels for Team Achievement : Chandrayaan-1 2013.

Dr. P. K. Gopalakrishnan Memorial Lecture

Dr. K. N. Harilal
Former Member, Kerala State Planning Board

Dr. Harilal completed his Masters in Economics from University of Kerala, M.Phil in Applied Economics from Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram and PhD in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. From 1990 to 2001, he worked at the School of International Relations of the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam initially as lecturer and later as Reader. In 2001, he joined the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) as Associate Fellow. Dr. Harilal also served as the Member, Kerala State Planning Board during 2006-2011, 2016-2021.  Trade policy is one of his main areas of specialization. He is interested in understanding the developments in the world trading system at multilateral and regional levels to see how global and regional developments affected the state’s economy.

Prof. P.T. BhaskaraPanicker Memorial Lecture

Dr. Sabu Thomas
Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi University

Prof. Sabu Thomas is currently the Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, India. He is also the Director of School of Energy Materials and the Founder Director and Professor of the International and Interuniversity Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and former Director of School of Chemical Sciences. Prof. Sabu Thomas is one of India’s most renowned scientists known for his contributions in polymer science and nanotechnology. After a short stint in a multinational company, Bayer India Ltd, Prof. Thomas joined Mahatma Gandhi University as a Lecturer in 1987. Later he became the Reader in the same University and a full Professor in 1997. Prof. Thomas is an outstanding leader with sustained international acclaim for his work in polymer science, polymer nanocomposites, elastomers, polymer blends,inter-penetrating polymer networks, polymer membranes, nanoscience, nanomedicine and green nanotechnology.

Prof. Thomas received a number of national and international awards which include Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London FRSC, Distinguished Professorship fromJosef Stefan Institute, Slovenia, MRSI medal, Nano Tech Medal, CRSI medal, Distinguished Faculty Award and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Award for Scientific Excellence. Recently, he was selected for the Kairali Global Lifetime Achievement Award and received the National Researcher Award -DST Nanomission-2020. Prof. Sabu Thomas was also one among the world’s top 2% scientists listed by Elsevier Publishers and Stanford University (USA).

Dr. E.K. JanakiAmmal Memorial Lecture

Dr. M. Sanjappa
Former Director, Botanical Survey of India

Dr. Sanjappa has over 40 years research experience in Taxonomy and Conservation of angiosperms with particular reference to Taxonomic revisions and floristics, cytotaxonomy. Dr. Sanjappa did BSc(Hons.) and MSc from Central College, Bangalore and completed PhD  from M.S. University of Baroda(1977). Later, he worked at Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute, Mysore during 1977-78 and Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata from1979 where he held the positions of Systematic Botanist, Scientist C, D, E, F, Joint Director and Head of Central National Herbarium and ultimately as Director, Botanical Survey of India in 2001 and retired in December, 2010.  He has conducted general floristic and legume surveys in Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Himalayas, Hot Deserts, Cold Deserts, North East India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. He and his students have worked and enormously contributed to the taxonomy of Leguminosae, Iridaceae, Lamiaceae and Aristalochiaceae. His team of two dedicated students has done an in-depth survey of remote DihangDibang Biosphere Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. He himself has collected Legumes, Primulas, Pedicularis, Rhododendrons, Gaultherias, Vacciniums, Agapetes,etc. in inhospitable areas up to 6500 m in Eastern Himalayas. Besides this he has also collected legumes in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Australia, Scotland, Panama, etc.


Dr. Sanjappa conducted collaborative research as INSA-Royal Society Visiting Scientist at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Edinburgh, Sydney, Peradenya, Godavari, Cambridge University Garden, Liverpool Museum, British Museum Natural History; Oxford University Herbarium, Linnaean Society, London, Smithsonian Institute, Panama, etc. He had visited and worked in many academic institutions in UK, Australia, Panama, France, Sudan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.


Dr. G.N. Ramachandran Memorial Lecture

Dr. R. Sankarnarayanan
Group Leader, Structural Biology, CCMB, Hyderabad

Dr.RajanSankaranarayanan obtained Bachelors and Masters in Physics from MaduruaiKamaraj University and Ph. D. from the Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under Prof. M. Vijayan in 1996. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at IGBMC, Strasbourg, France from 1996-2002. Dr. Sankaranarayanan, after returning to India in 2002, established a state-of-the-art macromolecular crystallography laboratory and carried out research in the field of Structural Biology. At CCMB, his group has made outstanding contributions in the area of proofreading during protein biosynthesis. He was awarded the prestigious Wellcome Trust International Senior Research Fellowship, UK in 2003, Swarnajayanthi fellowship of the DST, India in 2005-2006, National Bioscience Award of DBT in 2008, Shanti SwarupBhatnagar award in 2011, GN Ramachandran Gold Medal in 2015 and Infosys Science Prize in 2020. He is an Associate Editor of Journal of Structural Biology and Board of Reviewing Editor of the journal eLife. He is also a fellow of all the three major science academies of the country.