Particle physicist Rohini Godbole bestowed with France's Ordre National du Mérite

The Padma Shri awardee considers physics her first love, and women in science, her second love.

Padma Shri Awardee and particle physicist Rohini Godbole was recognised by the French government with Ordre National du Mérite for her role in collaborations between India and France, and her dedication to promoting women in science.

A professor at the centre for High Energy Physics in the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru (IISc) since the last 25 years, Rohini is known for her work at CERN, the European organisation for Nuclear Research as well as for her suggesting innovative ways to search for the top quark, Higgs bosons, and other new particles at the Large Hadron Colider (LHC) and at the International Linear Collider (ILC).

The 68-year-old physicist completed her Bachelor’s in Physics, Mathematics, and Statistics from Sir Parshurambhau College of Pune and Master’s in Physics from IIT, Mumbai. Armed with a PhD from SUNY at Stony Brook University in 1979, she has worked on different aspects of physics phenomenology and published over 280 research work in three decades of illustrious career.

An ardent supporter of women in science (which she calls her second love; her first love is physics), Rohini founded the IASc Panel for Women in Science in 2005, and is a member of the Standing committee of the government of India on Women in Science for over a decade.

In addition to speaking at various national and international events for women in science, Rohini co-edited Lilavati's Daughters: Women Scientists of India (2005) that chronicles the story of about 100 women scientists of India and A Girls' Guide to a Life in Science (2014) which is about 25 celebrated Indian women in science.

In order to address gender disparity in STEM fields, Rohini had suggested the need for a good creche on every campus and have gender audit at universities during a public talk three years ago. She had also suggested improving the work climate by addressing cases of women harassment.  

Edited by Anju Narayanan