Prof. Madhav Gadgil

Madhav Gadgil (b. 1942) was born in Pune where he developed an interest in plants, birds, insects and trekking from an early age. He was the holder of the Maharashtra State Junior and Pune University High Jump records. These outdoor interests further fostered his love of ecological field work, which has been his life long passion.

He studied Zoology at Universities of Pune and Bombay, before becoming the first biology student at Harvard University to receive a Ph. D. degree for a thesis based on mathematical modeling; which won him an IBM Fellowship of the Harvard Computing Center and became a Citation Classic. His scientific interests focus on ecology and evolutionary biology, conservation biology, human ecology, natural resource management and ecological history, and he has published 225 scientific papers and written 5 books in English and 2 in Marathi.

Madhav Gadgil has been largely responsible for introducing careful quantitative investigations in ecology and animal behaviour as well as viewing humans as an integral component of ecosystems to India. He founded the Centre for Ecological Sciences, which has developed strong traditions of working with other researchers, teachers, policy makers as well as NGO workers, farmers and other citizens throughout the country. This has led to innovative experiments of involving High School and College teachers and students in inventorying and monitoring of biodiversity.

In 1976 Madhav Gadgil was asked by the Karnataka Government to look at the management of the state's bamboo resources. His studies resulted in initiation of withdrawal of perverse subsidies to forest based industries in the country. He prepared the project document for and was involved with the establishment of the country's first biosphere reserve in Nilgiris in 1986. Madhav Gadgil wrote a series of 10 articles on Animal Behaviour in the Marathi science magazine "Srishtidnyan" when he was in 10th standard in High School. Subsequently he has written over 325 popular articles in English and Marathi in many newspapers and magazines. His books have been translated in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam and Gujarathi.

Madhav Gadgil has been a Lecturer on Biology at Harvard, a Distinguished Indo-American Lecturer at UC Berkeley and a Visiting Professor at Stanford. From 1973 to 2004 he was on the Faculty of Indian Institute of Science, where he established the Center for Ecological Sciences. He was a member of the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister of India from 1986 - 90, and Chaired the Science & Technology Advisory Panel of Global Environment Facility, a UN granting agency from 1998 - 2002. He chaired NCERT's panel on Environmental Education and is currently a member of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Madhav Gadgil has been elected to all the Science Academies of India, the Third World Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Science. He is an Honorary Member of the British and American Ecological Societies. He is a recipient of Shantiswarup Bhatnagar and Vikram Sarabhai Awards, Volvo Environment Prize and Harvard University's GSAS Centennial Medal, Karnataka's Rajyotsava Award and Padma Shri as well as Padma Buhushan.

Last updated on: September 12, 2023