George Joseph (scientist)

George Joseph
Born (1938-08-04)August 4, 1938
Chengannur, Madras Presidency, British India
Residence Ahmedabad, India
Nationality Indian
Known for Pioneering contribution to the Indian Space programme in the area of earth observation technology.
Awards Padma Bhushan (1999)
Scientific career
Fields Satellite Imaging Sensors, Remote Sensing and Space Science
Institutions Space Applications Center, ISRO, Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific(affiliated to UN)

George Joseph is an Indian space scientist, best known for his contributions to the development of remote sensing technology in India, especially in the field of earth observation sensors. He is a former chairman of the Lunar Mission Study Task Force of the Indian Space Research Organization and an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India, Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Academy of Engineering. The Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 1999.

Early life

George Joseph was born on 4 August 1938 to Advocate M. G. Joseph and Alice in Madras Presidency, British India. After completing schooling, he joined St.Berchmans College, Changanassery and also attended Alagappa Chettiar College in Karaikudi and University College, Trivandrum. He served as lecturer in Union Christian College, Aluva and at CMS College Kottayam. Afterwards he was a trainee at Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), Bombay.

Joseph is married to Mercy and they have two sons.

Research career

Joseph started his research career in 1962 at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research(TIFR), Bombay, where he was involved in the study of cosmic rays.[1] Based on his research work at TIFR he was awarded PhD degree by the Bombay University. A novel detector system designed by him was flown on the first Indian satellite Aryabhata (satellite) to detect solar neutrons.[2]

Contributions to the Indian Space Programme

In 1973, Joseph was invited to join the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad-one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO),and initiated the development of remote sensing technology particularly sensors of various types.[3] He has been the guiding force in the design and development of all the earth observation cameras on board Indian Remote Sensing Satellite(IRS) and INSAT. He served ISRO in various capacities including Director, Space Applications Centre and took keen interest and initiative to ensure the fruits of space technology reach common man. One of the noteworthy contributions of Joseph is the study report on Indian Mission to Moon in the capacity as Chairman, Lunar Mission Study Task Force.[4][5]

Joseph has served in a number of national and international committees/organizations including President of Technical Commission -I of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)[6] during 1996-2000 and Director, Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), (affiliated to the United Nations), with headquarters at Dehradun during 2006-2009.[7][8][9]

Fellowship/ Membership of professional bodies


  • Padma Bhushan (1999)[13]
  • TIFR Alumni Association (TAA) Excellence Awards (2009)
  • Outstanding Life Time Contribution in Ocean Science and Technology, MOES (2009)
  • Life Time Achievement Award, Geospatial Technologies (2008)
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, ISRO (2008)
  • Aryabhata Award, Astronautical Society of India (2007)
  • Melpadom Attumalil Georgekutty Merit Award, Mar Thoma church (2006)
  • Bhaskara Award : Lifetime Contribution Awarded Instituted by Indian Society of Remote Sensing for outstanding achievement (1997)
  • Om Prakash Bhasin Award for Science and Technology in the discipline of Space and Aerospace (1987)[14]
  • SICO – National Academy of Sciences Award for Instrumentation (1986)[15]


  • Fundamentals of Remote Sensing, University Press (India) Pvt. Ltd., 1st edn., 2003, 2nd edition 2005
  • Building Earth Observation Cameras, CRC Press, 2015
  • India's Journey Towards Excellence in Building - Earth Observation Cameras, re-published by Notion Press 2016
  • Fundamentals of Remote Sensing, (with C. Jeganathan) University Press (India) Pvt. Ltd., 3rd edn., 2018


Government offices
Preceded by
*Director SAC (ISRO)
Succeeded by
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