Home Page of Dr. Godfrey Louis


Dr.Godfrey Louis

Professor (Retd.) and Adjunct Faculty

Department of Physics

Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT)

Kochi, Kerala, INDIA

(Also currently holding position as Chairman, Board of Studies in Physics, CUSAT)

Former  Positions: 
  • Former Dean of  Faculty of Science CUSAT (29th May 2013 to 28th May 2016)
  • Former Pro Vice Chancellor of CUSAT (27th May 2009 to 26th May 2013)
  • Former Professor and Head, Department of Physics, CUSAT
  • Former Member of Syndicate, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
                                                                                       Link to Astrobiology Division, Department of  Physics, CUSAT: http://dop.astrobiology.in
Research papers by Godfrey Louis                                                     

Welcome to my Home page

Contact information:

Postal address:
Dr. Godfrey Louis
Professor (Retd.) and Adjunct Faculty,
Department of Physics,

Cochin University of Science and Technology,
Kochi - 682 022, Kerala, India.
E-mail:  godfreylouis@gmail.com
Fax :              
Cell Phone:      +91 9847124092
Office Phone:   +91 484  2577404

Residence Phone:  +91 484 4049692
Web site:http://sites.google.com/site/godfreylouis/                  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/godfrey2011

SPIE Profile

Please note the changes in my office address.

Retired from regular service on 30th April 2016, Continuing as Adjunct Faculty
From 27th May 2013 serving as Professor and Dean Faculty of Science.
From  27th May 2009 to 26th May 2013 served as  Pro Vice Chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology (4 year term)
On 6th October 2006 I have joined as Professor in the Department of Physics of Cochin University of Science and Technology 
Previously I was at School of Pure & Applied Physics, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam - 686 560, Kerala, INDIA.

 Investigation on RED RAIN OF KERALA (2006)

Red Rain Cells


Image is the photomicrograph of the red rain cells which caused the red colour for the red rain. These cells are about 10 micrometers in size. An estimated quantity of 50000 kg of this material landed in Kerala through red rain during July-September 2001.

"The red rain phenomenon of Kerala and its possible extraterrestrial origin"
Godfrey Louis & A. Santhosh Kumar,
Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 302, pages 175-187, 2006
(published online first on the date 04 April 2006)

A red rain phenomenon occurred in Kerala, India starting from 25th July 2001, in which the rainwater appeared coloured in various localized places that are spread over a few hundred kilometers in Kerala. Maximum cases were reported during the first 10 days and isolated cases were found to occur for about 2 months. The striking red colouration of the rainwater was found to be due to the suspension of microscopic red particles having the appearance of biological cells. These particles have no similarity with usual desert dust. An estimated minimum quantity of 50,000 kg of red particles has fallen from the sky through red rain. An analysis of this strange phenomenon further shows that the conventional atmospheric transport processes like dust storms etc. cannot explain this phenomenon. The electron microscopic study of the red particles shows fine cell structure indicating their biological cell like nature. EDAX analysis shows that the major elements present in these cell like particles are carbon and oxygen. Strangely, a test for DNA using Ethidium Bromide dye fluorescence technique indicates absence of DNA in these cells. In the context of a suspected link between a meteor airburst event and the red rain, the possibility for the extraterrestrial origin of these particles from cometary fragments is discussed.

Link to journal paper: Click   DOI
: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10509-005-9025-4

Preprint (full text) of the above paper (Released in 02 Jan 2006) is available for download from any of the following links or other mirror sites of   ArXiv.org:

Primary US link: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0601022
Indian mirror:      http://in.arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0601022
UK mirror:           http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0601022

Presented in Astrobiology Conference, SPIE Symposium , August 10-14 2008 -  in San Diego, California, USA.

Proc. SPIE, Vol. 7097, 709712 (2008); DOI:10.1117/12.794041

Optics + Photonics 2008 - Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI, Conference 7097 - Proceedings of SPIE Volume 7097
Unusual autofluorescence characteristic of cultured red-rain cells
 Godfrey Louis, Cochin Univ. of Science & Technology (India); A. Santhosh Kumar, Mahatma Gandhi Univ. (India)

The red cells found in the red rain in Kerala, India are now considered as a possible case of extraterrestrial life form. These cells can undergo rapid replication even at an extreme high temperature of 300 deg C. They can also be cultured in diverse unconventional chemical substrates. The molecular composition of these cells is yet to be identified. This paper reports the unusual autofluorescence characteristic of the cultured red rain cells. A spectrofluorimetric study has been performed to investigate this, which shows a systematic shift of the fluorescence emission peak wavelength as the excitation wavelength is increased. Conventional biomolecules are not known to have this property. Details of this investigation and the results are discussed.

Unusual autofluorescence characteristic of cultured red-rain cells
Proc. SPIE 7097, 709712 (2008)
DOI link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.794041

 Preprint download: spiepaper709712.pdf

Click here for some of the fluorescence microscope images of the cultured red rain cells

Conference Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Conference Title: Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII, Aug 2009
Conference Chairs: Richard B. Hoover, Gilbert V. Levin, Alexei Y. Rozanov, Kurt D. Retherford
Proc. SPIE, Vol. 7441, 74410N (2009); doi:10.1117/12.826780
An optical spectroscopic study correlating the yellow rain and cultured red rain microbes

A. Santhosh Kumar and Godfrey Louis

Abstract : A number of cases of yellow colored rain occurred in Kerala, India in July-August 2001 along with the red rain phenomenon. Recently during the end of July 2008 a few cases of yellow colored rain again occurred in Kerala and during the same time, unusual rain, termed as “blood rain” occurred in Bagado, Colombia. In this paper we show that the yellow rain and red rain can have a common origin. The yellow rainwater also exhibits the same unusual autofluorescence reported earlier for the cultured red rain microbes. Reasons for considering extraterrestrial origin for these colored rains are discussed.
An optical spectroscopic study correlating the yellow rain and cultured red rain microbes
Proc. SPIE 7441, 74410N (2009)

Preprint Download: SPIE_2009_7441B-21.pdf    DOI link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.826780

NEW  2010

 SPIE Proceedings:  SPIE Conference 7819 Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII Aug. 3-5 2010 San Diego, California, USA
1. Growth and replication of red rain cells at 121oC and their red fluorescence
Rajkumar Gangappa ( Univ. of Glamorgan, U K), Chandra Wickramasinghe (Cardiff Univ. U K), Milton Wainwright (The Univ. of Sheffield U K),  A. Santhosh Kumar ( Cochin Univ. of Science & Technology, India) and Godfrey Louis (Cochin Univ. of Science & Technology, India)

We have shown that the red cells found in the Red Rain (which fell on Kerala, India, in 2001) survive and grow after incubation for periods of up to two hours at 121 oC . Under these conditions daughter cells appear within the original mother cells and the number of cells in the samples increases with length of exposure to 121 oC. No such increase in cells occurs at room temperature, suggesting that the increase in daughter cells is brought about by exposure of the Red Rain cells to high temperatures. This is an independent confirmation of results reported earlier by two of the present authors, claiming that the cells can replicate under high pressure at temperatures up to 300 oC. The flourescence behaviour of the red cells is shown to be in remarkable correspondence with the extended red emission observed in the Red Rectangle planetary nebula and other galactic and extragalactic dust clouds, suggesting, though not proving, an extraterrestrial origin.

Download Preprint from: http://arxiv4.library.cornell.edu/abs/1008.4960v1

Growth and replication of red rain cells at 121°C and their red fluorescence
Proc. SPIE 7819, 78190N (2010)

 SPIE Proceedings:  SPIE Conference 7819 Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII Aug. 3-5 2010 San Diego, California, USA
2. Growth characteristics of red rain microbes at temperatures below 100oC
Godfrey Louis, A. Santhosh Kumar

Abstract : The red rain microbes, which caused red rain phenomenon in Kerala, India, exhibit many characteristics much different from conventional microorganisms. Previous study indicates that these microbes are possibly of extraterrestrial origin. Their ability to multiply at extreme high temperature of 300 oC and the unusual autofluorescence of their biomolecules are some of their extraordinary properties. Their molecular composition is yet to be identified. In this paper we report the growth pattern of these novel microbes at temperatures below 100 oC as a minimal approach to show their biological nature. Automated turbidity measurement of the cell culture indicate standard microbial growth curve. Increase in the cell population is faster at higher temperatures. Details of this investigation and results are discussed.
Download preprint: SPIE7819_24_2010.pdf
Growth characteristics of red rain microbes at temperatures below 100 °C
Proc. SPIE 7819, 78190R (2010)

Previous papers on red rain released in arXiv.org (2003):

1. Cometary panspermia explains the red rain of Kerala  - Godfrey Louis & A. Santhosh Kumar, October 2003, Download link:  http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0310120

Abstract: Red coloured rain occurred in many places of Kerala in India during July to September 2001 due to the mixing of huge quantity of microscopic red cells in the rainwater. Considering its correlation with a meteor airbust event, this phenomenon raised an extraordinary question whether the cells are extraterrestrial. Here we show how the observed features of the red rain phenomenon can be explained by considering the fragmentation and atmospheric disintegration of a fragile cometary body that presumably contains a dense collection of red cells. Slow settling of cells in the stratosphere explains the continuation of the phenomenon for two months. The red cells under study appear to be the resting spores of an extremophilic microorganism. Possible presence of these cells in the interstellar clouds is speculated from its similarity in UV absorption with the 217.5 nm UV extinction feature of interstellar clouds.

2. New biology of red rain extremophiles prove cometary panspermia  - Godfrey Louis & A. Santhosh Kumar, December 2003, Download link:  http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0312639

Abstract: This paper reports the extraordinary biology of the microorganisms from the mysterious red rain of Kerala, India. These chemosynthetic organisms grow optimally at an extreme high temperature of 300 degrees C in hydrothermal conditions and can metabolize inorganic and organic compounds including hydrocarbons. Stages found in their life cycle show reproduction by a special multiple fission process and the red cells found in the red rain are identified as the resting spores of these microbes. While these extreme hyperthermophiles contain proteins, our study shows the absence of DNA in these organisms, indicating a new primitive domain of life with alternate thermostable genetics. This new biology proves our earlier hypothesis that these microbes are of extraterrestrial origin and also supports our earlier argument that the mysterious red rain of Kerala is due to the cometary delivery of the red spores into the stratosphere above Kerala.

Articles and stories  on red rain research : (New are added to the end of this list)

  1.  Skepticism greets claim of possible alien microbes - World Science,  5 January 2006. http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/060104_specksfrm1.htm
  2. A dust storm couldn't have caused the red rain of Kerala - by Brig Klyce , Whats New in Cosmic Ancestry,  6 January 2006,  http://www.panspermia.org/whatsne40.htm#060106
  3.  Red rain may have ‘extraterrestrial origin’ By Jenifer Johnston - Sunday Herald (UK),   15 January 2006,  http://www.sundayherald.com/53577
  4. When  aliens rained over India - by Hazel Muir, New Scientist magazine, issue 2541, 04 March 2006,  page 34 (Cover Story) http://www.newscientist.com/contents/issue/2541.html     http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/mg18925411.100.html
  5. It's raining aliens - New Scientist Podcast,  04 March 2006 ( mp3 format audio file size 10.3 MB) http://www.newscientist.com/data/av/podcast/newsci-20060303-raining-aliens.mp3
  6. Red rain could prove that aliens have landed - By Amelia Gentleman and Robin McKie, The Observer (UK), 05 March 2006 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1723913,00.html
  7. Is it raining aliens?.... by Michael Hanlon, E-Notes.com, 06 March 2006  http://science.enotes.com/science-news/raining-aliens-red-blood-falling-from-sky-baffled
  8. Is mysterious 'red rain' first evidence of life in space?  By Chris Benfield, Yorkshire Post (UK), 06 March 2006 http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1375334 
  9. Red rain from another planet? - by George Iype, Rediff  news, 08 March 2006  http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/mar/08gspec.htm
  10. Life hain professor! - Prerna Shah, Times of India, 10 March 2006  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1445747.cms
  11. Alien attack after red rain in Kerala  - Naveen Nair, CNN-IBN, 18 March 2006  http://www.ibnlive.com/article.php?id=6952&section_id=11#
  12. Red rain puzzle is still up in the air -by  Hazel Muir , New Scientist Magazine issue 2545, 01 April 2006  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19025453.100.html

  13. UK Team offer new insight into red rain mystery - British Satellite News, 27 April 2006  http://www.bsn.org.uk/view_all.php?id=11615
  14.  ANALYSIS OF RED RAIN OF KERALA - Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology , 30 March 2006  http://www.astrobiology.cf.ac.uk/redrain.html

  15. Red rain of Kerala - David Darling, Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy & Spaceflight, http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/R/red_rain_of_Kerala.html
  16. Is It Raining Aliens? - Jebediah Reed, Popular Science, June 2006, http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/2c21c0f98d07b010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html
  17. Mysterious red cells might be aliens - Jebediah Reed , CNN.com,  June 2, 2006  http://edition.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/06/02/red.rain/
  18. Red rain in Kerala - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_rain_in_Kerala

  19. Physicist: Cell-like structures could be microbes from space - WorldNetDaily.com, June 4, 2006 http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50498
  20. Something  weird fell in the red rain - Ed  Willett , Leader-Post, June 08, 2006 http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/arts_life/story.html?id=c1627bd9-334a-428a-8d5f-a7c532c44ec2
  21. "Extraterrestrial Life" in Red Rain of Kerala, India? -Linda Moulton Howe,  Earthfiles.com, June 15, 2006 http://www.earthfiles.com/news/news.cfm?ID=1103&category=Science
  22. When aliens visit - David Tenenbaum, The Why Files, 22 June 2006, http://whyfiles.org/shorties/207red_rain/
  23. Germs from space? - Michael Carroll , Astronomy Magazine , 21 June 2006, http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=4337
  24. Alien Lifefall in Red Rain on India? - Douglas Chapman, Strangemag.com, http://www.strangemag.com/redrainfolder/alienlifefall.html
  25. Red Rain Cells of Kerala, India - Still No Definite DNALinda Moulton Howe,  Earthfiles.com, August 19, 2006 http://www.earthfiles.com/news/news.cfm?ID=1129&category=Science
  26. Ripple Marks:  Red Rain - Cheryl Lyn Dybas , Oceanography  Vol. 19 , No.3, Page 11, Sept 2006 http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/19_3/19.3_ripple_marks.pdf
  27. Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe - the man who asserted: "Life did not start here on earth but in space,"  - by Walter Jayawardhana , Asian Tribune,   October 26,  2006. http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/2788
  28. David Darling's News letter #37 http://www.daviddarling.info/discussion/newsletters_past_37.html
  29. David Darling's News letter #39 http://www.daviddarling.info/discussion/newsletters_past_39.html
  30.  Claim of alien cells in rain may fit historical accounts: study – World Science Net , Jan 22, 2008 http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/080122_red-rain.htm
    Link to the  abstract of original paper of P. McCafferty in International Journal of Astrobiology: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=1661980
  31. “It’s Raining Aliens!” Coloured Rain in Kerala and the Fuzzy Frontiers of Science - Shiju Sam Varughese -Sarai Reader 07: Frontiers  pages 348-358 http://www.sarai.net/publications/readers/07-frontiers/348-358_shiju.pdf  
  32. 'Alternative life' at 300 Celsius - R Gopakumar, DH News Service, Thiruvananthapuram, http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Jun212008/national2008062074569.asp
  33. Report: cells “from space” have unusual makeup – World Science,  8th September 2008, http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/080908_redrain.htm
  34. Fluorescence Mystery in Red Rain Cells of Kerala, India by Linda Moulton Howe (2009) http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=1526&category=Science

Conference presentation of red rain research:

  1. Work on red rain was also presented in the 3 day workshop on `Astrobiological problems for physicists'  at NORDITA, (Copenhagen, Denmark) 8-10 January 2004. http://www.nordita.dk/conference/AstroBio2004/
  2.  Invited Lecture on "Microbial red rain of Kerala"   presented by Godfrey Louis at the conference on " Cosmic Dust and Panspermia"  held at Cardiff University, Cardiff U.K. 5-8 September 2006.  http://www.astrobiology.cf.ac.uk/conference.html
  3.  Invited speaker on topic " Red rain phenomenon of Kerala" in the 2006 world mystery forum Conference,  November 11 to 12 , 2006 at  " Mystery Park" Interlaken, Switzerland. http://www.worldmysteriesforum.ch/index.php?id=6&L=1
  4. Invited Speaker, Program committee Member and Session Chair  in  Astrobiology Conference 7097, SPIE Symposium , August 10-14 2008 -  in San Diego, California, USA. Presented paper "Unusual autofluorescence of cultured red-rain cells", Proc. SPIE, Vol. 7097, 709712 (2008); DOI:10.1117/12.794041
    Red rain cells
    red rain cells 100x objective digital image capture

    About me


    M. Sc. Physics (Specialization in Space Physics), Department of Physics, University of Kerala, 1981.

    Ph. D. in the area of Experimental Solid State Physics (Ultrasonic Study of elastic properties and Phase transition studies in crystals), Cochin University of Science and Technology, 1995.

    Other Positions:

    • Former Member of  Syndicate,   Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. (2006-09)
    • Former Member of Senate,  Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.
    • Former Member of  Academic Council of Mahatma Gandhi University.
    • Former President Academy of Physics Teachers
    • Former Head of the Department of Physics, CUSAT (14th Nov. 2007  to 26th May 2009)

    Current Research Interest:

    Red Rain Phenomenon of Kerala - Astrobiology - Extraterrestrial Life - Origin of Life

    Previous research activities:

    Research activities are in the area of experimental Solid State Physics,  Work involves the growth of  large single crystals and investigation of its elastic, thermal and electrical properties using mainly ultrasonic and electrical conductivity techniques. - Phase transition study in crystals. 

    Employment History:

    1. Department of Physics, Union Christian College, Alwaye - 683 102, Kerala,  during 1981 to 1985
    2. Department of Physics, St. Paul's College, Kalamassery - 683 503, Kerala., during  1985 to 1987
    3. School of Pure and Applied Physics, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, from 1987 to 2006 (October 5th)
    4. Professor, Department of  Physics, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, Kerala  from   October 2006 to  November 2007
    5. Professor and Head, Department of  Physics, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, Kerala  from   November 2007 to May 2009
    6. Pro Vice Chancellor, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, Kerala  from  2009 (May 27 ) onwards.
    Membership in Professional Bodies:
    • Life member of Acoustical Society of India
    • Member of Academy of Physics Teachers, Kerala

    Research Students:

    1. Dr. A. Santhosh Kumar  (awarded Ph. D)
    2. Dr. George Varughese ( awarded Ph. D)
    3. Dr. Leesal Iype (awarded Ph.. D)
    4. Dr. Georgekutty Joseph (awarded Ph. D) 
    5. Dr. R. Rajesh (awarded Ph. D)

    Click here for Publications List

      Page designed & maintained by  Dr. Godfrey Louis