Ashoke Sen

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Ashoke Sen
অশোক সেন
Born (1956-07-15) 15 July 1956 (age 63)
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Residence Kolkata, Allahabad
Nationality Indian
Fields Physics
Institutions Fermilab
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Harish-Chandra Research Institute
Alma mater Scottish Church Collegiate School
Presidency College, Kolkata
University of Calcutta
IIT Kanpur
Stony Brook University
Doctoral advisor George Sterman
Known for Contributions to string field theory
Notable awards G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research (1996)
Padma Shri (2001)
Infosys Prize - Mathematical Sciences (2009)
Fundamental Physics Prize (2012)
Padma Bhushan (2013)
Dirac Medal (2014)

Ashoke Sen, FRS (Bengali: অশোক সেন; born 1956) is an Indian theoretical physicist and distinguished professor at the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad.[1] He also is the Morningstar Visiting professor at MIT and a distinguished professor at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study. His main area of work is String Theory. He was among the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize “for opening the path to the realisation that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory”. This prize has been set up by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner for rewarding scientific breakthroughs. He is one of signatories among 108 scientists and mathematicians who issued a public statement against raising intolerance in India in 2015.[2]

Early life

He was born on 15 July 1956[3] in Kolkata, and is the elder son of Anil Kumar Sen, a former professor of physics at the Scottish Church College, and Gouri Sen, a homemaker.[4]

After completing his schooling from the Sailendra Sircar Vidyalaya and the Scottish Church Collegiate School in Kolkata, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 from the Presidency College under the University of Calcutta, and his master’s three years later from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. During his undergraduate studies at Presidency, he was greatly inspired by the work and teaching of Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri. He did his doctoral work in physics at Stony Brook University.


Ashoke Sen made a number of major original contributions to the subject of string theory, including his landmark paper on strong-weak coupling duality or S-duality,[5] which was influential in changing the course of research in the field. He pioneered the study of unstable D-branes and made the famous Sen conjecture about open string tachyon condensation on such branes.[6] His description of rolling tachyons[7] has been influential in string cosmology. He has also co-authored many important papers on string field theory. In 1998 he won the fellowship of the Royal Society on being nominated by the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.[1] His contributions include the entropy function formalism for extremal black holes and its applications to attractors. His current research interests are centered on the attractor mechanism and the precision counting of microstates of black holes. Recently he has joined National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar, India as an honorary fellow.[8]

Honors and awards


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Pulakkat, Hari (Dec 19, 2013). "How many of us know about Breakthrough Prize winner, Ashoke Sen?". The Economic Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Statement by Scientists: Scientists for Tolerance, October 28, 2015, Newsclick,
  4. Physicist with pillow power
  5. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  6. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  7. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  9. "Dirac Medallists 2014".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. [1]
  11. "Rajesh Khanna, Sridevi, Mary Kom, Rahul Dravid on Padma list". Times of India. TNN. Jan 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. New annual US$3 million Fundamental Physics Prize recognizes transformative advances in the field, FPP, accessed 1 August 2012
  13. "Indian scientist Ashoke Sen bags top physics honour". The Times Of India. 2012-08-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. [2]
  16. Infosys Prize 2009 Mathematical Sciences
  17. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. The Year Book 2014 // Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi
  19. "ICTP Prize Winner 1989". Retrieved 2009-11-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links