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Priyamvada Natarajan
Cosmic Cartographer

Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University, is a cosmic cartographer who maps the unseen universe—invisible entities like dark matter, black holes, and dark energy—whose prodigious presence can only be indirectly inferred from observational data.

In 1999, while a graduate student at Cambridge University, Natarajan predicted the existence of a new kind of object in the universe: cosmic winds that were driven hundreds of thousands of light years by black holes. Two decades later, in 2019, radio astronomers detected the very cosmic winds that she had predicted. Other fundamental predictions of hers—for example, that black holes have a self-regulating mechanism keeping them from becoming overly massive—have also proven to be correct. Born in Coimbatore, India, Natarajan is the author of the popular book Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos.

She is also a poet, a builder of bridges between scientists and humanists, and a champion of K-12 students “learning science by doing science”—the pedagogical philosophy that underlies LSC’s STEM education programs.