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A professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis, Ramanath Cowsik is the director emeritus and the Vainu Bappu Distinguished Professor of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore, which he headed for a decade. He has made wide-ranging contributions to astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and non-accelerator particle physics, as well as science management, in the course of his scientific career. He formerly was in charge of the Gravitation Group at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay with which he was associated for forty years. His papers pointing out the astrophysical and cosmological consequences of finite neutrino masses contributed to the basic paradigm for studying galaxy formation and dark matter. Dr. Cowsik also has contributed to the understanding of the behavior of cosmic rays at low and high energies, and his discussion of non-thermal particle populations inside supernova remnants have led to a physical understanding of their spectra. In the course of his experimental searches for new feeble forces and tests of Einstein's principle of equivalence of inertial and gravitational masses, he designed a new kind of torsion balance with which he performed the first laboratory experiment searching for the so-called "fifth force"—a hypothesized addition to the four fundamental interactions between material objects. Investigating the dust of presolar diamonds, rubies, and carborundum embedded and preserved in meteorites, Dr. Cowsik has been able to infer the formation of these materials in stellar winds and to estimate by a completely new method the age of the Milky Way. Recently he explored the Himalayas to establish a unique site for optical infrared astronomy in Ladakh on the border of Tibet. His current research efforts are directed towards building an even more sensitive torsion balance to probe possible violations of the inverse square law of gravity at sub-millimeter scales that are promoted by string theories. Dr. Cowsik was born in Nagpur in central India and took his baccalaureate degree at the University of Mysore. He earned a master's degree in physics at Karnatak University and, after further graduate work at the Atomic Energy Training School in Mumbai, he received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Bombay in 1969. He had joined the Tata Institute as a research associate in 1961, and he subsequently became a research fellow, a fellow, a reader, an associate professor, a professor, and a senior professor there. Named a Distinguished Professor in 1996, he retired from his faculty position in 2002 when he accepted his present post at Washington University. Dr. Cowsik has held a research fellowship at the University of Chicago and been a visiting lecturer and assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich. Until recently, he served on the governing council of the Commission on Cosmic Rays of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. He is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences in India, the Indian Geophysical Union, and the Third World Academy of Sciences. In 2004, he was elected a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. In addition to invited lectureships, he is the recipient of many other honors, including the Vikram Sarabhai Award for Space Sciences, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Physical Sciences, a NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award, the Third World Academy of Sciences Award in Basic Sciences, the Vainu Bappu Memorial Award of the Indian National Science Academy, the S.N. Bose Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress Association, and the Padma Shri Award from the President of India. Dr. Cowsik has published some 180 papers in scientific journals and is the editor of Cosmic Pathways (1985) and two other books.