Shriharsh Tendulkar

Email: shriharsh.tendulkar [at]
Phone: 022 2278 2253
Extn: 2253
Office: CM-17 (TIFR-Mumbai)
National Centre for Radio Astrophysics
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Savitribai Phule Pune University Campus,
Pune 411 007
Maharashtra, INDIA

Main Research Areas: Fast Radio Bursts, Pulsars and Magnetars, High Energy Transients, Astronomical Instrumentation


Shriharsh Tendulkar obtained his B. Tech. in Engineering Physics from IIT Bombay (2008), and his M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2014) in Astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology. After post-doctoral stints at the California Institute of Technology and McGill University, he joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics as a Reader in October 2020.

Research description:

I’m interested in violent transient events, mostly involving neutron stars and compact objects that happen on very short timescales. These transient events help us understand the behaviour of matter in intense magnetic fields, high temperatures, and strong gravitational fields.
Fast Radio Bursts
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are prolific, bright, millisecond timescale radio transients that originate from cosmological distances. There are about 1000 FRBs every day in the entire sky at a fluence threshold of 1 Jy-ms. The field of FRBs is still young — we are trying to answer questions about whether all FRBs repeat (we know some do), whether there is one or multiple populations of FRBs, and what kinds of sources produce FRBs. I’m a part of the CHIME/FRB project which is the most prolific FRB detector in the world. I use radio telescopes (especially the CHIME) to search and characterize FRBs and optical, IR, and X-ray telescopes to understand their environment and their emission mechanisms.
Magnetars and X-ray Transients
Magnetars are neutron stars with extremely strong magnetic fields — 1000 times stronger than most pulsars/neutron stars. This intense and complex magnetic field powers temperamental outbursts and flares from magnetars. Most of this activity happens in X-rays and gamma-rays, but we have recently found evidence of magnetars producing FRB-like emission in the radio. Some of the giant flares from magnetars are strong enough to ionize the Earth’s atmosphere from the other side of the Milky Way. I use radio and X-ray telescopes to study magnetars and their behaviour.
Instrumentation and Algorithms
Transient detection comes with its own challenges of data processing and analysis. We have to separate real transients from the noise coming from terrestrial sources and a varying background. I’m interested in developing algorithms for transient detection using classical as well as machine learning techniques.

Selected publications:

1. CHIME/FRB Collaboration, “A bright millisecond-duration radio burst from a Galactic magnetar”, 2020, Nature, 587, 54, 2020. 

2. CHIME/FRB Collaboration, “Periodic activity from a fast radio burst source”, 2020, Nature, 582, 351

3. Marcote, B. et al., “A repeating fast radio burst source localized to a nearby spiral galaxy”, 2020, Nature, 577, 190

4. CHIME/FRB Collaboration, “Observations of fast radio bursts at frequencies down to 400
megahertz”, 2019, Nature, 566, 230 (Corresponding author)

5. Platts, E., Weltman, A., Walters, A., Tendulkar, S. P., Gordin, J. E. B., and Kandhai, S., “A living
theory catalogue for fast radio bursts”, 2019, Physics Reports, 821, 1

6. CHIME/FRB Collaboration, “The CHIME Fast Radio Burst Project: System Overview”, 2018, The Astrophysical Journal, 863, 48.