ASU Press Release:
Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University, will deliver Angelo State University’s 42nd annual West Texas Medical Associates Distinguished Lectureship in Science Honoring Dr. Roy E. Moon on Tuesday, March 20, in the Houston Harte University Center, 1910 Rosemont Drive.
Natarajan will present “Fasting and Feasting: The Feeding Habits of Black Holes” at 2 p.m. and then “Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos” at 8 p.m. in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center. Both lectures are open free to the public.
A native of Delhi, India, Natarajan is also director of the Franke Program in Science and Humanities at Yale University and is noted for her work in mapping dark matter and energy, particularly with her work in gravitational lensing and in models describing the assembly and accretion histories of supermassive black holes.
In addition to her academic position at Yale, Natarajan is an associate at the Dark Cosmology Center in the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Petters Research Institute in Belize. She previously completed a Guggenheim Fellowship at the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in New York, served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and spent a year as the Caroline Herschel Distinguished Visitor at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. In 2012, she was elected to an Honorary Professorship for Life at the University of Delhi in India.
A prolific researcher, Natarajan has received research grant funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics Network, among many others. She has authored or co-authored more than 135 papers published in scientific journals, and has presented her research at scientific conferences all over the world. In 2016, she published her first book, “Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos,” which received an Honorable Mention Award from the American Publishers Association.
Also a popular speaker, Natarajan has lectured throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2017, she delivered the Kameshwar Wali Lecture at Syracuse University and a Smithsonian Lecture in Washington, D.C. She has also provided expert interviews to worldwide media, including NPR, CNN, Hindustan Times, Huffington Post and Washington Post.
Throughout her career, Natarajan has received numerous honors and awards, including being named a Kavli Frontiers Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, American Physical Society and the Edge Foundation in Zug, Switzerland. She has also received a Face of the Future Award from the India Abroad Foundation, an India Empire NRI Award from the India Empire Foundation and a Subrahmanyan Aharati Award for Achievement in the Sciences from the Vanavil Cultural Foundation in India.
The WTMA Lectureship honors Dr. Roy E. Moon, a longtime San Angelo obstetrician and gynecologist, who died in 1976. He practiced for 28 years with Clinic Hospital Medical Associates, now West Texas Medical Associates. The lectureship was established in 1976 and is underwritten by a grant to ASU from the members of WTMA.
Each year, the lectureship brings a scientist of national prominence to ASU for public lectures, colloquia and informal discussions.
The selection committee is chaired by Dr. Paul Swets, dean of the ASU College of Science and Engineering, and includes Dr. David Bixler, chair of the Physics and Geosciences Department; Dr. Crosby Jones, professor of biology; Dr. John Osterhout, chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department; WTMA physicians Dr. Kelly Hallmark, Dr. Colleen Heartsill and Dr. Joe Wilkinson; and retired physician Dr. Fazlur Rahman.