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Monday, April 22 2024

Five eminent professors among Infosys Prize winners

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Bengaluru :Five eminent professors and a director were selected for the Infosys Prize 2017, said the software major’s Science Foundation on Wednesday.

“A six-member jury of renowned scientists and professors selected the winners from 236 nominations received in six categories,” Foundation’s Board of Trustees President and Infosys co-founder K. Dinesh told reporters here.

The winners are Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, in Engineering and Computer Science; Upinder Singh Bhalla, Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, in Life Sciences; Ritabrata Munshi, Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, in Mathematical Sciences.

In Physical Sciences, the winner is Yamuna Krishnan, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago; Lawrence Liang, Professor, School of Law, Ambedkar University, New Delhi, won it in Social Sciences; and Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English Literature, King’s College London, in Humanities.

“The Infosys Prize continues to honour and recognise some of the best researchers and scientists of our time. Among the winners are a neuroscientist using computers to map the human brain, a computer scientist studying biological systems and a chemist trying to make DNA machines to study living cells,” said Dinesh.

The prize for each category consists of a purse of Rs 65 lakh, a 22-karat gold medallion and a citation certificate.

The jury members are Pradeep K. Khosla, University of California, San Diego; Amartya Sen, Harvard University; Inder Verma, Salk Institute of Biological Sciences; Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, New York University; Shrinivas Kulkarni, California Institute of Technology and Kaushik Basu, Cornell University.

“The award aligns with our principle of promoting science and inspiring young researchers across the country. The Infosys Prize is gaining recognition and has become one of the coveted prize awards in science and research in the country,” said Dinesh.

Bandyopadhyay was selected in the Engineering and Computer Science category for her record in algorithmic optimisation and its impact on biological data analysis.

“Her discoveries include a genetic marker for breast cancer, determination of co-occurrence of HIV and cancers and the role of white cells in Alzheimer’s disease,” said the Foundation in a statement later.

Bhalla won it in the Biological Sciences category for pioneering contribution to the understanding of the brain’s computational machinery.

“Bhalla’s investigations has revealed essential neuronal computations that underlie the ability to acquire, integrate and store complex sensory information and to utilise that information for decision and action,” it said.

Munshi was chosen in the Mathematical Sciences category for his outstanding contributions to analytic aspects of number theory.

“Besides ingenious contributions to the Diophantine problem, Munshi has established important estimates known as sub-convexity bounds for a large class of L-functions with methods that are powerful and original.”

Krishnan got it in the Physical Sciences category for her ground-breaking work in the emerging field of DNA architecture.

“By manipulating DNA, the building blocks of life, to create biocompatible nanomachines, Krishnan created novel ways of interrogating living systems, increasing our knowledge of cell function and getting one step closer to answering unresolved biomedical questions,” said the statement.

Liang won it in the Social Sciences category for creative scholarship on law and society.

“His prodigious output in copyright law, digital technologies and media and popular culture raises probing questions about the nature of freedom, rights and social development. His provocative answers link historical context and ethical practice in unexpected and illuminating ways.”

Kabir was selected in the Humanities category for her original explorations of the historical elements – conceptual, social and cultural – in colonial modernity and her subtle and insightful ethnography of cultural and political life in Kashmir.

The awards ceremony will be held on January 10 in Bengaluru. Nobel laureate Kip S. Thorne, Professor Emeritus at California Institute of Technology, will felicitate the winners.

Thorne, a theoretical physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his contribution to the observation of gravitational waves in 2015, posited by Albert Einstein a century ago.

Set up in 2009 as a not-for-profit organisation with a corpus of Rs 130 crore by Infosys co-founders N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, S. Gopalakrishnan, S.D. Shibulal and Dinesh and the Board of Trustees, the Foundation promotes interest in science and research in the country.


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