An astrophysicist, Kasturirangan’s interests include research in high energy X-ray and gamma ray astronomy as well as optical astronomy. Among the awards (Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Officer of the Legion d’honneur) and official positions (chairman, Space Commission; secretary, Department of Space; chancellor, JNU) linked to his name, there’s also that of ex-member, Planning Commission, where he gave his name to a very terrestrial study, the Western Ghats report.