Priyamvada Natarajan is a professor in the departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. She is noted for her work probing the nature of dark matter and dark energy, using gravitational lensing, and for developing models that describe the assembly and growth histories of black holes in the universe. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos (2016).

Born in Coimbatore, India into an academic family, she finished her schooling in New Delhi, India before coming to M.I.T. for undergraduate study. She has undergraduate degrees in Physics and Mathematics from M.I.T. and was also enrolled as a graduate student in the Program in Science, Technology & Society (STS) as well as the Program in Technology and Public Policy (TPP). She was awarded a Master of Science (S.M.) degree from M.I.T. STS.

She was awarded the Isaac Newton Fellowship to pursue graduate studies in astrophysics at the Institute of Astronomy, at the University of Cambridge, U.K. where she was a member of Trinity College. During her PhD, she was elected to a Title A Research Fellowship that she held from 1997 to 2003. She was the first woman in Astrophysics to be elected a fellow at Trinity. Prior to taking up her faculty position at Yale, she was a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics in Toronto, Canada.

Natarajan’s research work and original contributions to astrophysics have been recognized with many awards and honors (the full list is available on her CV), including the Emeline Conland Bigelow Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the India Abroad Foundation’s “Face of the Future” Award; an India Empire NRI award for Achievement in the Sciences, the award for academic achievement from the Global Organization for the People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), the recipient of the Genius Award from the Liberty Science Center, the New England Choice Award for Achievement in the Sciences, the Distinguished Immigrant Award for the State of Connecticut and the Tamil-American Pioneer Award. She is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Aspen Center for Physics, the Royal Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society and the Explorers Club.

She has served as Chair and Member of the National Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee and is past Chair and Member of the Executive Committee of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society. She is currently on the Editorial Board of the journals published by the American Astronomical Society as a Science Editor.

In addition to her faculty position at Yale, Natarajan holds the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Professorship at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and an honorary professorship for life at the University of Delhi, India. She is an external Principal Investigator at the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University and is an Associate Member of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in New York.