MK Vainu Bappu
Manali Kallat Vainu Bappu was born on August 10,1927 to a senior astronomer in the Nizamiah Observatory, Hyderabad. MK Vainu Bappu is credited as the man behind the creation of the Indian Institute of Astro-Physics. One of the greatest astronomers of India, Vainu has contributed much to the revival of optical astronomy in independent India. Bappu joined the prestigious Harvard University on a scholarship after receiving his Masters degree in Physics from the Madras University. Within a few months of his studies, he discovered a comet, which was then named Bappu-Bok-Newkirk after him and his colleagues Bart Bok and Gordon Newkirk. He completed his Ph.d. in 1952 and joined the Palomar University. He and Colin Wilson made an important observation about the luminosity of particular kind of stars and it came to be known as the Bappu-Wilson Effect. He returned in 1953 and played a major role in building the Uttar Pradesh State Observatory in Nainital. In 1960, he took over as the Director of the Kodaikanal Observatory and contributed a lot in the modernisation of it. In 1986, he established the observatory with a powerful telescope in Kavalur, Tamil Nadu.
Awarded with the prestigious Donhoe Comet Medal by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1949, he was elected as the President of the International Astronomical Union in 1979. He was also elected as the Honorary Foreign Fellow of the Belgium Academy of Sciences and was an Honorary Member of the American Astronomical society. Today, Bappu is regarded as the Father of Modern Indian Astronomy.