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Speakers

Astrophysicist
Sociologist
Biophysiciat, Writer & Founder, Out of Print
Moderator

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Date & Time

Thursday Thu, 16 Dec 2021

Categories

Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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Contact

+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

A practicing astrophysicist, Prajval Shastri is at the forefront of the global conversation around gender inequity in science. Gita Chadha, a practicing sociologist, is at the forefront of developing the field of Feminist Science Studies in India. They will discuss the issues of low representation of women in science, the gendered culture of science and the notions of merit and success. Taking the dialogue forward to possible ways of building sustainable solutions, the discussants will draw attention to constructive ways to make science more inclusive for women and other marginal groups.

Prajval Shastri and Gita Chadha are in conversation with Indira Chandrasekhar.

*Please note: BIC Venue events need attendees to be double vaccinated and  comply with all health and safety protocols

Speakers

Prajval Shastri

Astrophysicist

Prajval Shastri is an astrophysicist of nearly four decades. She got her PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and after post-doctoral research positions in the University of Texas at Austin, University of California at Berkeley and the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics she was a faculty of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru for 23 years. She investigates the physics of giant black holes that are found in the centres of distant galaxies and how they influence the evolution of galaxies like our Milky Way. For this, she uses telescopes at multiple frequencies including radio, visible, ultraviolet and x-rays, based on earth as well as in space. She has been a Fulbright fellow at Stanford University and is currently Adjunct Professor at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Australia.

Prajval is extremely passionate about science outreach. She believes that the cultivation of scientific thinking is for everyone, uses astrophysics as a vehicle to engage lay audiences of all ages with these questions, and works for the peoples science movement towards this goal.

She is also deeply concerned about the inequities in the sciences and attempts to bring an intersectional lens to the endeavours to mitigate them. She is founder and past chair of the Gender in Physics Working Group of the Indian Physics Association and member of the Working Group for Gender Equity of the Astronomical Society of India. She is vice-chair designate of the Women in Physics Working Group of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and on the Executive Committee for the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development.

In addition to her research publications, her published work includes popular articles on astrophysics, and on the subject of science and society, examples of which are, ‘Einstein proven right again’ (HT), ‘Was Carl Sagan right about life on Venus?’ (HT), ‘The (un)scientific temper of India’ (HT), ‘Will physics un-gender itself in the new decade?’ (HT), and ‘Equality is everyone’s work’ (Indian Express).

Prajval Shastri is an astrophysicist of nearly four decades. She got her PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and after post-doctoral research positions in the University of Texas at Austin, University of California at Berkeley and the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics she was a faculty of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru for 23 years. She investigates the physics of giant black holes that are found in the centres of distant galaxies and how they influence the evolution of galaxies like our Milky Way. For this, she uses telescopes at multiple frequencies including radio, visible, ultraviolet and x-rays, based on earth as well as in space. She has been a Fulbright fellow at Stanford University and is currently Adjunct Professor at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Australia.

Prajval is extremely passionate about science outreach. She believes that the cultivation of scientific thinking is for everyone, uses astrophysics as a vehicle to engage lay audiences of all ages with these questions, and works for the peoples science movement towards this goal.

She is also deeply concerned about the inequities in the sciences and attempts to bring an intersectional lens to the endeavours to mitigate them. She is founder and past chair of the Gender in Physics Working Group of the Indian Physics Association and member of the Working Group for Gender Equity of the Astronomical Society of India. She is vice-chair designate of the Women in Physics Working Group of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and on the Executive Committee for the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development.

In addition to her research publications, her published work includes popular articles on astrophysics, and on the subject of science and society, examples of which are, ‘Einstein proven right again’ (HT), ‘Was Carl Sagan right about life on Venus?’ (HT), ‘The (un)scientific temper of India’ (HT), ‘Will physics un-gender itself in the new decade?’ (HT), and ‘Equality is everyone’s work’ (Indian Express).

Gita Chadha

Sociologist

Gita Chadha is a faculty member at the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, India. She has a doctorate in sociology and has taught at undergraduate colleges at the Mumbai University and on the International programme of the University of London in Mumbai. She was the Chairperson of the Women’s Development Cell, University of Mumbai from 2016 to 2020.

Gita has developed frameworks for feminist archiving at the Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, India. She has designed and taught a first of its kind course in Feminist Science Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India. She has designed innovative pedagogic initiatives for integrating science and social science teaching. Gita is a member of Board of Studies in social work, women’s studies, development studies including those at SGODS, IGNOU and RCWS, SNDT University.

Gita has published several articles on science criticism. Her research interests lie in science studies, feminist theories and post colonial studies. She has also collaborated with women artists and poets in building common understandings of feminist art practices in India. She has co-edited a volume called Zero Point Bombay. Her two volumes on Feminists and Science are co-edited with Sumi Krishna and are published by Stree Samya, Kolkata and SAGE and a volume Re-Imagining Sociology in India: Feminist Perspectives co-edited with M.T. Joseph has been published by Routledge recently. She has edited a special issue of the Contributions to Indian Sociology entitled Feminisms and Sociologies: Insertions, Intersections and Integrations. With Asha Achuthan, she has edited a special issue of the Review of Women’s Studies of the Economic and Political Weekly entitled Feminist Science Studies: Intersectional Narratives of Persons in Gender-marginal Locations in Science and for EPW Engage she has co-edited with Rukmini Sen a set of articles entitled Feminist Dilemmas: Moving beyond the List-Statement Binary. Recently she edited a Special issue of EPW Engage on Gender and COVID 19: Perspectives from the Margins. Presently she is working on a volume on Scientific Method. She is the Reviews Editor of Sambhashan, the Journal of University of Mumbai and is on the editorial team of Confluence, Indian Academy of Sciences.

Indira Chandrasekhar

Biophysiciat, Writer & Founder, Out of Print

Dr. Indira Chandrasekhar worked as a biophysicist and computational chemist examining the behaviour of biological macromolecules and lipid bilayer membranes using molecular dynamics simulations in premier institutions in India, the US and Switzerland. Upon returning to India after over fifteen years abroad, she turned her attention to literature.

Soon after she began publishing her own short stories, she founded the short fiction journal, Out of Print. The magazine marked its tenth year with a print anthology that was published at the end of 2020 in collaboration with Context Books, the literary imprint of Westland Publishing.

Indira’s writing is informed by her work in science and also tends to centre on the perspectives of woman protagonists negotiating love, maternal responsibilities, the oppressions of patriarchy and life. A collection of her short stories, Polymorphism, was published by HarperCollins. She is working on a new collection of short fiction and a longer non-fiction project.