Bangalore - February 8, 2014
The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) today celebrated the pursuit of basic and applied sciences by honoring seven world-class researchers for outstanding contributions to their respective fields of study. The fifth year celebrations saw Mr. Kofi A. Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Secretary-General of the United Nations gracing the occasion as the Guest of Honor. Mr. Annan felicitated winners of the Infosys Prize 2013 across six categories - Engineering & Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences, at a glittering award ceremony held in Bangalore.
Mr. Kofi Atta Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Secretary-General of the United Nations said, “Academic and scientific research play a core role towards solving some of the big challenges of our times such as climate change, environmental degradation, food shortages and poverty alleviation. Scientific research is also key in the long overdue switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and green technologies. It is no overstatement to say that the future of the world depends on the ingenuity of the young scientists dedicating their lives and talents to the resolution of these issues.”
Mr. N.R. Narayana Murthy, Trustee, Infosys Science Foundation and Executive Chairman of the Board, Infosys said, “Progress of scientific research in India is crucial to the development of our nation and an area of keen interest to me. I am a scientist at heart with an enduring romance for science. The Infosys Prize is the culmination of a long cherished vision to recognize excellence in research and inspire many more Indians to pursue careers in fields of science and humanities.”
Mr. Srinath Batni, Member of the Board, Infosys and President of the Board of Trustees, Infosys Science Foundation, said, “The Indian industry has made rapid strides in gaining global prominence over the last two decades. We will require solid efforts to build a strong, independent base in scientific research. The Infosys Science Foundation remains committed to furthering this goal by honoring outstanding contributions by scientists and researchers. We stay focused on creating role models to encourage the pursuit of scientific excellence in the country.”
Engineering and Computer Science
Prof. Ramgopal Rao, Institute Chair Professor - Department of Electrical Engineering and Chief Investigator - Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Prof. Rao was selected for his wide-ranging contributions to nanoscale electronics, specifically his insightful integration of chemistry with mechanics and electronics to invent new functional devices. His work has the potential to impact areas of health and security, as these nanoscale devices can be used to detect toxins in the environment and automobile exhausts. The devices can also effectively screen cardiac patients and detect incipient cardiac attacks. Prof. Rao’s research has led to multiple international patents that are in use in the semiconductor industry and form the foundation of a start-up company - NanoSniff Technologies Pvt. Ltd
Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Director, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi
Dr. Gokhale was recognized for his work around the discovery of crucial enzymes necessary for the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTb) bacteria. Globally, tuberculosis infects and kills over two million people every year and 10 million new patients are added each year. Dr. Gokhale’s work tracks the complex structures the bacteria makes, creating opportunities to discover important therapy for this disease
Prof. Rahul Pandharipande, Professor - Department of Mathematics, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich (ETH Zurich)
Prof. Pandharipande was rewarded for his profound work in algebraic geometry. In particular, the award recognizes his work on Gromov-Witten theory for Riemann surfaces, for predicting the connection between Gromov-Witten and Donaldson-Thomas theories, and his recent work with Aaron Pixton that establishes the connection for Calabi-Yau 3-folds. The results are important because of their connection to String theory, widely accepted as the theory of everything!
Prof. Shiraz Naval Minwalla, Professor - Department of Theoretical Physics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai and Member, School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Studies, New Jersey, USA
Prof. Minwalla was recognized for his pioneering contributions to the study of string theory, quantum field theory and gravity. His work also uncovered a deep connection between the equations of fluid and superfluid dynamics as well as Einstein’s equations of general relativity
Prof. Aninhalli R. Vasavi, Senior Fellow - Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi
Prof. Vasavi was recognized for her distinctive and pioneering research spanning four areas: agrarian society at the intersection of economy, culture and environment; school education in varied regional contexts; globalization and its impact on the moral economy of urban occupations; and social sciences as seen from the vantage point of Indian languages and regional cultures
The Infosys Prize is awarded under the aegis of the Infosys Science Foundation, a not-for-profit trust set up in 2009 by Infosys and few members of its board. The Infosys Science Foundation is funded by a corpus which today stands at over INR 100 crore, (US$ 16 million approximately) contributed by the trustees and the company. For more information, please visit www.infosys-science-foundation.com
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