Former NIO Scientist Dr. Nigam Selected for International Award

IAS Prelims 2023

Goa : 21 October 2021

During the Annual Board of Directors meeting of the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research held at Portland, Oregon, USA from Oct 10-13, 2021, Dr. Rajiv Nigam (Former Chief Scientist, CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India), Selected as 2022 recipient of J.A. Cushman Award for Excellence in Foraminiferal Research. This award, the highest honor the Cushman Foundation, recognizes Dr. Nigam’s outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of foraminifera research. The award will be presented at the Cushman Reception at the 2022 Geological Society of America meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA, from October 9-12-2022.

The Joseph A. Cushman Award was established in 1979 by USA based Cushman foundation for foraminiferal Research to honor researchers who have made outstanding contributions in the field of foraminiferology. Since then 41 Scientists from different countries from all over the world were presented with this international award. Dr. Rajiv Nigam is the first Indian Citizen who is selected for this lifetime achievement award based on his outstanding research work on foraminifera (microfossil).

Dr. Rajiv Nigam has received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Geology from Lucknow University, Master of Philosophy, Doctor of philosophy and Doctor of Science degree in Geology from the Aligarh Muslim University and NORAD Diploma in marine Micropaleontology from Oslo University.  Dr. Nigam has made significant contributions in the field of Marine Geology (Micropaleontology) using foraminifera as a tool to understand oceanographic processes and their role in environmental and paleo-environmental assessments.

His main findings are pollution monitoring through relative sensitivity of the benthic foraminifera; development of novel technique to decipher net sediment transport direction by comparisons of living and dead benthic foraminifera; postulating dimorphism as proxy for paleoclimatic reconstructions; development of model for the paleodepth determination in the Arabian Sea and sea level curve for the Holocene; morphogroups of benthic foraminifera as a new tool for paleomonsoonal reconstruction and discovery of 77 years cyclicity in average monsoonal rainfall which is modulated by Gleissberg solar cycle.

Dr.Nigam has worked extensively for application of Foraminifera in the field of Marine Archaeology [e.g. settling controversy of dockyard at Lothal (The oldest dockyard ever discovered in the world); explanation of Neolithic human settlements in Gulf of Cambay [through knowledge of sea level fluctuations] and reporting the thick wall [~18 m] at Dholavira as oldest record of tsunami protection measures in India. He has been extensively covered in media for his work on marine Archaeology.

He has pioneered the study of foraminifera in laboratory culture. These experiments provide new insights for some of the fundamental aspects of foraminiferal studies like development of new Paleoclimatic proxies and role of foraminifera in pollution studies.

Dr. Nigam is recipient of several awards like CSIR Young Scientist Award, Krishnan Gold Medal, National Mineral Awards, M.R. Sahni lecture award and Bhalla Gold Medal for excellence in Micropaleontology by Paleontological Society of India, H.N.Siddiquie lecture award by Indian Geophysical Union, etc. Dr. Nigam has also taken keen interest in human resource development and as recognized guide of the Goa University (Marine Science & Geology) and Professor of AcSIR, successfully guided 15 students for Ph.D.. His students also excelled in scientific world and bagged 5 ISCA Young Scientist Awards, CSIR and INSA Young Scientist Awards, National Mineral Award, Krishnan Gold Medal and several other awards. Dr. Nigam has published more than 160 research papers in National and International journals. Dr. Rajiv Nigam worked as scientist since 1978 at National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. He has superannuated as Head of Geological Oceanography Division and Marine Archaeology Unit of NIO. Later he served as Emeritus Scientist at NIO.




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