Barma is Professor Emeritus with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at the TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Hyderabad and former Director of TIFR. After PhD from the State University of New York Stony Brook (1974), he did postdoctoral work at Michigan State University and joined TIFR in 1976. He has worked in the areas of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, phase transitions, and disordered systems. Between 2002-05, he served as chair of the IUPAP C3 Commission on Statistical Physics and is currently a vice president of IUPAP. Honours include: INSA Young Scientist Award; Bhatnagar Prize; Indian Science Congress SN Bose Centenary Medal; Goyal Prize. He is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi), the Indian Academy of Sciences (Bangalore), and the National Academy of Sciences (Allahabad), and a recipient of the JC Bose Fellowship. He was conferred the Padma Shri by the Govt. of India.