by Elton Gomes
Six professors have been awarded the Infosys Prize 2018 across multiple categories of science and research, the software major’s science foundation announced on Tuesday.
The Infosys Prize 2018 includes a pure gold medal, a citation, and a prize purse worth $100,000 (or 65 lakh rupees), the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) said in a statement.
“India needs to cement its place as a hub for innovations across various fields of science,” said Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys and an IFS trustee, PTI reported.
What is the prize about?
The Infosys Prize aims to highlight the prestige of science and research in India, and inspire young Indians to choose a vocation in research. The award’s objective is to celebrate success in research and stand as a marker of excellence in various fields of science.
The award is given annually to honour outstanding achievements of contemporary researchers and scientists across six categories: Engineering and Computer Sciences, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.
How were the winners selected?
A six-member jury comprising of renowned scientists and professors selected the winners from 244 nominations that were received in the six categories, the ISF said.
By recognising these researchers and celebrating their achievements, the Infosys Prize aims to inspire young minds to explore science as a career option and advance innovation in the country, the foundation said further.
“With improving synergies between the scientific community and industry we are poised for cutting-edge science and research innovation. The science of today is, after all, the technology of tomorrow,” K. Dinesh, president of the ISF, said, as per a PTI report.
Dinesh said further, “We hope the work of all our winners bears fruit and helps improve societies and economies across the world.”
Here’s the list of the six winners according to their category.
Engineering and Computer Science
Navakanta Bhat, a professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, was awarded for his work on the design of novel biosensors. The design was based on his research in biochemistry and gaseous sensors that push the performance limits of existing metal-oxide sensors.
Bhat has devised gas sensors with ultra-precise detection accuracies. Such sensors could be used for space and environmental monitoring, and will specifically be useful for India’s growing space, atomic energy, and security programmes, the ISF said.
Kavita Singh, professor and dean at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, was awarded for her study of Mughal, Rajput, and Deccan art.
The foundation noted that Singh’s work showcases the significance of museums in highlighting the social impact of art, and thereby relates visual culture to important contemporary questions of secularity, modernity, and political conflict.
The ISF awarded Roop Mallik, associate professor at the department of biological sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, for his work on molecular motor proteins.
Mallik has identified and measured forces that are required to transport large particles inside cells. In addition, he has demonstrated their role in fundamental processes, such as targeting pathogens for their destruction and moving lipid droplets for fatty acid regulation in the liver.
Nalini Anantharaman, professor and Chair of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Strasbourg, France, received the prize in Mathematical Sciences for her work related to “Quantum Chaos”.
The quantum world is the one of the deepest secrets of the universe, and mathematics is an important language that helps us in better comprehending this world, the ISF said.
S.K. Satheesh, a professor at the Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, won the award for his pioneering scientific work in the field of climate change.
Black carbon aerosols are light absorbing, microscopic particles in the air, which significantly influence the energy balance of the atmosphere over the Indian subcontinent.
Satheesh’s studies on black carbon aerosols have enabled a better understanding of the role of these particles in climate change, precipitation, and, human health in the Indian subcontinent.
Sendhil Mullainathan, professor of computation and behavioral science at the University of Chicago in the U.S. won the award for his path-breaking work in behavioural economics.
Mullainathan’s research has had substantial impact on various fields such as development, public finance, corporate governance, and policy design. The ISF noted that a significant part of this work is relevant to India
“We hope the work of all our winners bears fruit and helps improve societies and economies across the world,” said Mr. Dinesh.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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