Physical Research Laboratory
TypeResearch institution
DirectorAnil Bhardwaj
Location, ,
23°02′8″N 72°32′33″E / 23.03556°N 72.54250°E / 23.03556; 72.54250Coordinates: 23°02′8″N 72°32′33″E / 23.03556°N 72.54250°E / 23.03556; 72.54250
Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad

The Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) is a National Research Institute for space and allied sciences, supported mainly by Department of Space, Government of India. This research laboratory has ongoing research programmes in astronomy and astrophysics, atmospheric sciences and aeronomy, Earth sciences, Solar System studies and theoretical physics.[1] It manages the Udaipur Solar Observatory and is located in Ahmedabad.

Known as the cradle of space sciences in India, the Physical Research Laboratory was founded on 11 November 1947[2] by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. The laboratory had a modest beginning at his residence, with research on cosmic rays.

The institute was formally established at the M.G. Science Institute, Ahmedabad, with support from the Karmkshetra Educational Foundation and the Ahmedabad Education Society. Prof. Kalpathi Ramakrishna Ramanathan was the first Director of the institute. The initial focus was research on cosmic rays and the properties of the upper atmosphere. Research areas were expanded to include theoretical physics and radio physics later with grants from the Atomic Energy Commission.

Today[when?] PRL is involved in research, related to five major fields of science. PRL is also instrumental in the PLANEX planetary science and exploration programme.

In June 2018, PRL scientists discovered exoplanet EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b, located 600 light years away from the Earth.[3]

The building of the PRL was designed by Achyut Kanvinde in 1962.[4]


Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the Laboratory's founder.
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the Laboratory's founder.

PRL research encompasses astrophysics, Solar System and cosmic radiation.


The Physical Research Laboratory holds various seminars and public lectures. It has a workshop, computer centre, library and various other laboratories. It also offers a five-year doctoral programme in physics, with specialisations in theoretical physics and complex systems, outer space and atmospheric sciences, quantum optics and quantum information, astronomy and astrophysics (infrared, sub-mm and radio astronomy, Solar physics, planetary and geosciences). The admission is through a written test and interview.

National awards

The research institution offers national awards to scientists who have made outstanding contributions in the field of science and technology. The awards presented are:

Scientific milestones


  1. ^ "Physical Research Laboratory". Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organisation. 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  2. ^ "Brief History". Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Exoplanet find that put India in select league - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  4. ^ Williamson, Daniel (2016). "Modern Architecture and Capitalist Patronage in Ahmedabad, India 1947-1969". ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. New York University. p. 91. Retrieved 18 February 2020 – via ProQuest.