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Liton Majumdar

Photo of Liton Majumdar


4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109



Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Interstellar and Heliospheric Physics


I am an astronomer doing astrophysics, astrochemistry, astrobiology, and planetary science. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at NISER Bhubaneswar, India, and a visiting researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA.

I am interested in the physics and chemistry of simple and complex organic molecules in space from interstellar clouds, the birthplaces of stars, through to protoplanetary disks. These organics eventually seed planetary surfaces and atmospheres and play a role in the "Origin of Life."

I use numerical models, single dish telescope observations at (sub-) millimeter/centimeter wavelengths  (e.g., NASA DSN, IRAM 30m, GBT, NRO 45m and ARO 12m), interferometric observations at (sub-) millimeter wavelengths (e.g., ALMA and NOEMA), space telescope observations at near, mid and far-infrared wavelengths (JWST NIRSpec, JWST MIRI, Spitzer and Herschel science archive) along with SOFIA observations at Terahertz frequencies for my research.

I am a co-Investigator for JWST MIRI GTO program to study physics and chemistry of proto-stellar binaries in Perseus. I am also leading a SOFIA Cycle 7 and various ALMA Cycle 6/7 proposals.

Currently, I am combining millimeter and sub-millimeter observations to study the evolution of volatile molecules in protoplanetary disks with the goal of determining the amount of volatile carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen available to form planets and to compare with the exoplanetary atmospheric compositions derived either from inverse retrieval code or chemical kinetics code.

I am also interested in linking disk models and observations to the origin of comets and have a strong desire to understand the source of the observed organics on them.

I also have a deep interest in the future development (technology) and scientific capabilities of WFIRST, SPICA, OST, SPHEREx, and HabEx mission (together with ground based facilities such as TMT and SKA) to revolutionize our understanding of planetary system formation and complete the census of the outer reaches of the Solar System.


  • B.Sc. (Hons) Physics, University of North Bengal (2007)
  • M.Sc. Physics, University of Calcutta (2009)
  • Ph.D. Astrophysics, University of Calcutta (2014)

Professional Experience

  1. Visiting Researcher formally appointed by the Office of the Chief Scientist, NASA-JPL/Caltech, USA: June 2019-present
  2. Assistant Professor, National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar, India: June 2019-present
  3. NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, NASA-JPL/Caltech, USA: July 2017-June 2019
  4. CNRS Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bordeaux, LAB, France: Dec 2014 to June 2017

Research Interests

Observing the signatures of planet formation at high spatial resolution with ALMA and JWST (Future); Connecting protoplanetary disk and exoplanet atmospheric composition; Physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium, including pre-stellar cores to protoplanetary disks, Linking astrophysics with Solar System Science and astro(cosmo)-chemistry; Future development and scientific capabilities of SKA, TMT, OST and HabEx to revolutionize our understanding of planetary system formation.

Selected Awards

  1. Associate of the Cradle of Life Science Working Group of Square Kilometer Array (SKA)
  2. Invited for Virtual Panelists of 2019 NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)
  3. 2019 ALMA Ambassador- Awarded by North American ALMA Science Center, Funding-$10000
  4. Science PI-SOFIA Cycle 7 Priority 1 proposal- ‘Where is the Water?’, Funding-$72,700
  5. Science PI- NASA ROSES Emerging World Program- ‘Following the multi-isotope trail to understanding the formation and early evolution of our Solar System’, Funding-$506,195
  6. IAU 2019 Grant, Funding-€1008
  7. ngVLA community service round 2 approved program
  8. Referee for the Astrophysical Journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Planetary and Space Science, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, Astrobiology
  9. Reviewer for NASA Future Investigators in Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) Astrophysics Program, NASA Fellowships, NASA Postdoctoral Grant (NPP) and NASA ROSES Grants
  10. Invited for NASA Panel Member of Exoplanet Research Program (XRP), Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program (APRA), and Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP)
  11. Invited for ALMA Technical Secretary position in 2019
  12. Research highlighted in Physics Today Article
  13. Research highlighted in NASA Post-Doctoral Program (NPP) News letter
  14. NASA Postdoctoral Program Award
  15. 3 Years Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2017 (Declined).
  16. 3 Years Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain in 2017 (Declined).
  17. 2018 TMT-Early Career Initiative Researcher
  18. CNRS Postdoctoral grant under ERC project
  19. IAU 280 and IAU General Assembly student grant
  20. COSPAR student grant
  21. Ph.D. Thesis work was highlighted in two ‘nature India’ articles with doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.28 & doi:10.1038/nindia.2014.155

Selected Publications

30. T. Suzuki, Y. Shinnaka, T. Shibata, Y. Shilbaike, L. Majumdar, H. Nomura, H. Minamoto, 2019, Possibility of condensation of glycine near the surface of comet 67P/C-G, The Astrophysical Journal, arxiv: 1901.05170

29. V. Wakelam, E. Chapillon, A. Dutrey, S. Guiloteau, W. Iqbal, A. Coutens, L. Majumdar, 2019, Protoplanetary disks: Sensitivity of the chemical composition to various model parameters, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 484, 1573

28. Y. Seo, L. Majumdar, P. F. Goldsmith, Y. Shirley, K. Willacy et al., 2019, An ammonia spectral map of the L1495-B218 filaments in the Taurus molecular cloud: II. Tracing recently accreted gas in CCS and HC7N and three modes of star formation in the filaments, The Astrophysical Journal, 871, 134

27. I. Andron, P. Gratier, L. Majumdar, T. Vidal, A. Coutens J. C. Loison, and V. Wakelam, 2018, Methyl cyanide (CH3CN) and propyne (CH3CCH) in the low mass protostar IRAS16293-2422, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 481, 5659

26. K. Taniguchi, M. Saito, L. Majumdar et al., 2018, Chemical Composition in Three High-Mass Star-Forming Regions Containing Hot Cores Associated with the 6.7 GHz Methanol Masers, The Astrophysical Journal, 866, 150

25. T. Suzuki, L. Majumdar, M. Ohishi, M. Saito, T. Hirota, V. Wakelam, 2018, An expanded gas-grain model for interstellar glycine, The Astrophysical Journal, 863, 51

24. N. T. Phuong, E. Chapillon, L. Majumdar, S. Guilloteau, V. Pietu, V. Wakelam, P. N. Diep, T. Beck, J. Barry, 2018, The first detection of H2S in protoplanetary disk: The dense GG Tau A ring, Astronomy and Astrophysics Letter, 616, L5

23. T. Suzuki, M. Ohishi, M. Saito, T. Hirota, L. Majumdar, V. Wakelam, 2018, The difference in abundance between N-bearing and O-bearing species in high-mass star forming regions, The Astrophysical Journal Supplementary Series, 237, 3

22. L. Majumdar, P. Gratier, V. Wakelam, E. Caux, K. Willacy, M. E. Ressler, 2018, Detection of HOCO+ in the protostar IRAS 16293-2422, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 477, 525

21. L. Majumdar, J. C. Loison, M. Ruaud, P. Gratier, V. Wakelam, A.Coutens, 2018, Methyl isocyanate: An important missing organic in current astrochemical networks, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, 473, L59

20. L. Majumdar, P. Gratier, M. Ruaud, V. Wakelam, C. Vastel, O. Sipila, F. Hersant, A. Dutrey, S. Guiolloteau, 2017, Chemistry of TMC-1 with multiply deuterated species and spin chemistry of H2, H2+, H3+ and their isotopologues, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 466, 4470.

  1. L. Majumdar, P. Gratier1, I. Andron, V. Wakelam1, E. Caux, 2017, A study of singly deuterated cyclopropenylidene c-C3HD in protostar IRAS 16293-2422, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 467, 3525.
  2. P. Gorai, A. Das, L. Majumdar, B. Sivaraman, S. K. Chakrabarti, E. Herbst, 2017, The Possibility of Forming Propargyl Alcohol in the Interstellar Medium, Molecular Astrophysics, 6, 36.
  3. L. Majumdar, P. Gratier, T. Vidal, V. Wakelam, J. C. Loison, K. M. Hickson, E. Caux, Detection of CH3SH in protostar IRAS 16293-2422, 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 458, 1859.
  4. T. Suzuki, M. Ohishi, T. Hirota, M. Saito, L. Majumdar, V. Wakelam, 2016, Survey observation of a possible Glycine Precursor Methanimine CH2NH, The Astrophysical Journal, 825, 79.
  5. P. Gratier, L. Majumdar, M. Ohishi, E. Rouef, J. C. Loison, K. M. Hickson, V. Wakelam, 2016, A new reference chemical composition for TMC-1, The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 225, 25.
  6. V. Wakelam, M. Ruaud, F. Hersant, A. Dutrey, D. Semenov, L. Majumdar, S. Guilloteau, 2016, Importance of the H2 abundance in protoplanetary disk ices for the molecular layer chemical composition, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 594, A35.
  7. A. Das, D. Sahu, L. Majumdar, S. K Chakrabarti, 2015, Deuterium enrichment of the interstellar grain mantle, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455, 540.
  8. L. Majumdar, P. Gorai, A. Das, S. K. Chakrabarti, 2015, Potential formation of three pyrimidine bases in interstellar regions, Astrophysics and Space Science, 360, 64.
  9. A. Das, L. Majumdar, D. Sahu, P. Gorai, B. Sivaraman, S. K. Chakrabarti, 2015, Methyl Acetate and its singly deuterated isotopomers in the interstellar medium, The Astrophysical Journal, 808, 21.
  10. S. K. Chakrabarti, L. Majumdar, A. Das, S. Chakrabarti, 2015, Search for interstellar Adenine, Astrophysics and Space Science, 357, 90.
  11. D. Sahu, A. Das, L. Majumdar, S. K. Chakrabarti, 2015, Monte Carlo simulation for the formation of molecular hydrogen and its deuterated forms, New Astronomy, 38, 23.
  12. B. Sivaraman, N. Radhika, A. Das, G. Goopakumar, L. Majumdar, S. K. Chakrabarti, K. P. Subramanian, M Hada, 2015, Infrared Spectra and Chemical Abundance of Methyl Propionate in Icy Astrochemical Conditions, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 448, 1372.
  13. A. Das, L. Majumdar, S.K. Chakrabarti, D. Sahu, 2015, Deuterium enrichment of the interstellar medium, New Astronomy, 35, 53.
  14. L. Majumdar, A. Das, Sandip K. Chakrabarti, 2014, Formation of different isotopomers of Chloronium in the interstellar medium, The Astrophysical Journal, 782, 73.
  15. L. Majumdar, A. Das, S. K. Chakrabarti, 2014, Spectroscopic characteristics of the cyanomethyl anion and its deuterated derivatives, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 562, 56.
  16. A. Das, L. Majumdar, S. K. Chakrabarti, R. Saha, S. Chakrabarti, 2013, Formation of cyanoformaldehyde in interstellar space, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 433, 3152.
  17. A. Das, L. Majumdar, S. K. Chakrabarti, S. Chakrabarti, 2013, Chemical evolution during the process of proto-star formation by considering a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model, New Astronomy, 23, 118.
  18. L. Majumdar, A. Das, S.K Chakrabarti, S. Chakrabarti, 2013, Study the chemical evolution and spectral signatures of some interstellar precursor molecules of adenine, glycine and alanine, New Astronomy, 20, 15.
  19. L. Majumdar, A. Das, S. K. Chakrabarti, S. Chakrabarti, 2012, Hydro-chemical study of the evolution of interstellar pre-biotic molecules during the collapse of molecular clouds, Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 12, 1613.