Sharada Srinivasan

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Dr. Sharada Srinivasan
Born16 January 1966
Education(PhD, 1996)
(M.A. Art, Archaeology, and Archaeometallurgy, 1990)
(BTech Engineering Physics, 1987)
Alma materUniversity of London , School of Oriental and African Studies, London , Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
OccupationProfessor, National Institute of Advanced Studies(NIAS), Bangalore
Known forContributions in the field of Applications of scientific studies in art and Archaeology, Indian Classical Dance
SpouseDigvijay Mallah
Parent and Geetha Srinivasan
AwardsPadma Shri (2019)

Sharada Srinivasan (born 16 January 1966)[1] is an archaeologist specializing in the scientific study of art, archaeology, archaemetallurgy and culture. She is associated with the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India,[2] and an Honorary University Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK.[3] Srinivasan is also an exponent of classical Bharata Natyam dance. She was awarded India's fourth highest civilian award the Padma Shri in 2019.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

The younger of two siblings, Srinivasan was born on 16 January 1966 in Bangalore to M. R. Srinivasan and Geetha Srinivasan.[5] Her father is an Indian nuclear scientist and mechanical engineer and her mother is nature conservationist and a wild life activist. Sharada received her Higher Secondary Certificate from Jai Hind College, Mumbai in 1983[2][6] and obtained her BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1987.[2][6] In 1986, Sharada along with four IIT batchmates codirected, acted in and choreographed for the English feature film, Nuclear Winter which won the Cannes Award in the Special Category for 1988. The movie was produced by Homi Sethna and directed by Zul Vellani. The starcast included Vijay Crishna and Mishu Vellani. The movie was shot in the IIT Powai campus and marked the launch of a successful dance career for Sharda. After completing her master's degree at the University of London in 1989,[2][6] she continued to research South Indian bronze sculptures during her PhD at University College London, which she completed in 1996.[2][6]


Sharada Srinivasan is a Professor in the Programme of Heritage and Society in the School of Humanities at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, India since 2012. Srinivasan started her journey as NIAS as a Fellow (2004-2006), became Assistant Professor in 2006 and served in the role till 2012.[2][6]

She is first author of the book 'India's Legendary Wootz Steel: An advanced material of the ancient world'. Prof. Sharada Srinivasan is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and World Academy of Art and Science.[7]

Srinivasan was awarded a Homi Bhabha Fellowship,[8] during which time she visited the UK and USA as a visiting scholar at the Smithsonian, the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Museum of Applied Sciences Centre for Archaeology (MASCA), University of Pennsylvania, Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian & Conservation Department, Freer & Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian, and presented papers at a Conference on Indus Archaeology, University of Wisconsin Madison and The Cost Committee Meeting on Ion Beam analysis in Art and Archaeology at Oxford organised by European Commission.[citation needed]

She was co-recipient (with Exeter University) of a British Council funded UKEIRI research awards (2009-2011), of a Royal Society-DST award, as well as an ongoing UKIERI-II Award related to developing joint PhD. Programmes in intangible histories including archaeology and performance studies.[9]

In 2009, Srinivasan co-chaired the seventh Beginning of the Use of Metals and Alloys (BUMA) international conference in Bangalore. The proceedings were published in 2015 in the volume Metals and Civilizations, of which Srinivasan was co-editor.[10]

Srinivasan was co-investigator on a 2010 UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI)[11] funded project with Professor S. Ranganathan and the University of Exeter's Dr Gill Juleff. The project was titled Pioneering Metallurgy: Origins of Steel Making in the Southern Indian Subcontinent.[12] She undertook further research on technical evidence for high carbon steel by ancient crucible processes and ancient high-tin Bronzes and the surviving groups in Kerala for manufacture of high-tin bronze vessels and mirrors and lost wax casting.[13] Sharada was recently[when?] featured in this site Trowel blazers of University College London on women archaeologists.[14]


In the International Year of Astronomy photo-montage exhibition 'Danse e-Toile: Nataraja et le Cosmos' curated by Sharada Srinivasan, scientist-dancer is featured at Alliance Française Bangalore Atrium. It explores cosmic sensibilities and the art, metallurgy and science of the Nataraja bronze and from the evocative lens of both the Bharata Natyam and French contemporary dance forms. It will be at Cité De L'Espace, Toulouse for the Festival La Novela as a prelude to an internet-streamed dance event between Sharada Srinivasan and K.Danse, France.[15]

She is also a performing artist specialising in the South Indian classical dance of Bharatanatyam. She has performed and lectured at the Royal Asiatic Society, the Royal Academy of Arts, for the Chola exhibition, the International Academy of Astronautics, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, INTACH-Belgium, Nehru Centre, London, China Conservatory of Music, National History of Science Seminar, Hyderabad, University of Toyoma, Japan and others. She had a photo-exhibition in June 2008 at Alliance Française Bangalore entitled 'Cosmic Dance of Shiva' on art-science-dance perspectives related to South Indian bronzes and the Nataraja.[16]

Danse e-Toile: Nata-raja et le Cosmos (Dance of stars: Nataraja and the Cosmos) was the first ever live, internet-streamed interactive dance and music programme between India and Europe. The event was held in Bangalore on 17 October 2009 as part of the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. What made it more noteworthy were the creative choreography and the amazing synthesis of art, science and advanced technology.[17]

Sharada Srinivasan was conferred with the Dr. Kalpana Chawla State Award for Women Scientists 2011 instituted by the Government of Karnataka.[18]




  • ...Talking about cosmic dance she said: "It is a metaphor of movement. There is also a personal metaphor – creation emerging out of destruction. I use the dance of the cosmos or the dance of science to discover aspects of ancient art that art historians have not been able to find ..[20]
  • ...There are fascinating interfaces between art and science. I returned to dance because of science. Dance injects an element of normalcy where I can enjoy contact with human emotions while science has an alienating quality. Bharatanatya is liberating and constricting at the same time because of its set forms and structure. I would have found it very limiting had it not been for science. Now I see the dance form as an element of movement of art forms..[20]
  • ...Capra was certainly not the first in portraying the Nataraja as a universal metaphor for the interface between science,spirituality, dance and art. But he definitely helped the idea to catch on.[21]
  • ...There is also something a bit Jungian in the Nataraja imagery that it somehow holds out a positive message of hope for coming to terms with loss through artistic endeavours or through acts of dedication.[22]


  1. ^ "Sharada Srinivasan | National Institute of Advanced Studies -". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Sharada Srinivasan | National Institute of Advanced Studies". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Professor of Archaeology". Department of Humanities at Exeter. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Padma Shri Awardees 2019" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Family" (PDF).
  6. ^ a b c d e "IIT Bombay Alumni Prof. Rohini M. Godbole And Prof. Sharada Srinivasan Conferred Padma Shri | IIT Bombay". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  7. ^ "IIT Bombay Alumni Prof. Rohini M. Godbole And Prof. Sharada Srinivasan Conferred Padma Shri | IIT Bombay". Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Homi Bhabha Fellowship". Homi Bhabha Fellowships Council. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Dr Sharada Srinivasan". Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  10. ^ Metals and Civilizations: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on the Beginnings of the use of Metals and Alloys (BUMA VII)(NIAS Special Publication No. SP7-2015). e-print@NIAS. 20 October 2015. ISBN 9789383566112. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  11. ^ "UK India Education and Research Initiative". UKIERI. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  12. ^ "New research into origins of iron and steel in India". University of Exeter. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  13. ^ From Sharada Srinivasan's profile page on the official website of Homi Bhabha Fellowships Council. Archived 11 February 2009 at
  14. ^ Archaeotechnology and dance
  15. ^ K-Dance Website
  16. ^ Sharada Srinivasan performs Bharatanatyam At international conference on Southeast Asian Archaeology 1 September 2008 Leiden, Holland Archived 28 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Cosmic Ball- The Week, Nov8 2009
  18. ^ "KSCST : State Science and Technology Awards - 2010".
  19. ^ "Dr. Kalpana Chawla Young Women Scientist Awardees". Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. ^ a b From the leading Indian National Newspaper in English – The Hindu
  21. ^ The Sensuous and the Sacred – Article from Tamil Website
  22. ^ Doing the Cosmic Tango[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]