JNU Dean, IISc Professors Win Infosys Science Foundation Prize

The prize celebrates the success of the recipients in science & research.

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India
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2018 laureate Navakanta Bhat giving a speech after receiving an award for Engineering and Computer Science category.
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Research on biosensors that can help India's space programme, and the role of carbon particles on climate change are among six works awarded the 2018 Infosys prize worth USD 100,000, the software major's science foundation said Tuesday, 13 November.

The prize, given annually, celebrates the success of the recipients in science and research by recognising their achievements in each category, the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) said in a statement.

WHO ARE THE WINNERS?

Navakanta Bhat, Engineering and Computer Science

Bhat is a professor at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Chairperson of Centre for Nano Science and Engineering, IISc. He has been awarded for his work on the design of novel biosensors based on his research in biochemistry and gaseous sensors that push the performance limits of existing metal-oxide sensors, as per ISF.

Professor Bhat has devised gas sensors with ultra-precise detection accuracies necessary for space and environmental monitoring, stated the statement.

Kavita Singh, Humanities

A Professor and Dean, School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, she has been awarded for her “extraordinarily illuminating study of Mughal, Rajput and Deccan art”.

The statement said, “Her work shows the significance of museums in highlighting the social impact of art, and thereby relates visual culture to large contemporary questions of secularity, modernity, and political conflict, including the conflicts around repatriation that have been generated by a colonial past.”

Roop Mallik, Life Sciences

Mallik is an Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. He has been awarded for work on molecular motor proteins. His research provides insights that will improve therapies for diseases like diabetes and obesity.

Nalini Anantharaman, Mathematical Sciences

A professor and Chair of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study, University of Strasbourg in France, Nalini won the award for her work related to “Quantum Chaos”, specifically for the effective use of entropy in the study of semi-classical limits of eigenstates in quantum analogs of chaotic dynamical systems and for her work on the delocalisation of eigenfunctions on large regular graphs, as per ISF's press release.

Professor Anantharaman’s work explores the deep relationship between classical and quantum systems.

SK Satheesh, Physical Sciences

Satheesh is a professor at Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science and Director at Divecha Centre for Climatic Change.

"His studies on black carbon aerosols, the dark, light absorbing, microscopic particles in air which greatly influence the energy balance of the atmosphere over the Indian subcontinent, have enabled a better understanding of the role of these particles on climate change, precipitation, and, human health in the Indian subcontinent," the ISF said in a statement.

Sendhil Mullainathan, Social Sciences

He is a Professor of Computation and Behavioural Science, and George C Tiao Faculty Fellow, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

He has been awarded for his work in Behavioural Economics. He is currently working on big data and machine learning issues and applications in Economics. He is one of the economists who "set his training in computation and the developments in machine learning and big data to develop guidelines in the field of empirical methodology for the future".

WHO WERE THE JURY MEMBERS?

This year's jury chair members were: Pradeep K Khosla for Engineering and Computer Science; Amartya Sen for Humanities; Mriganka Sur for Life Sciences; Srinivasa SR Vardhana for Mathematical Sciences; Shrnivas Kulkarni for Physical Sciences; and Kaushik Basu for Social Sciences.

WHAT IS INFOSYS SCIENCE FOUNDATION PRIZE?

Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for-profit trust set up in 2009. 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.

The prize, given annually, celebrates the success of the recipients in science and research by recognising their achievements in each category, the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) said in a statement.

The award includes a pure gold medal, a citation and a prize purse worth USD 100,000 (or its equivalent in Indian rupees), it said.

(With inputs from PTI, Infosys Science Foundation)

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