Infosys Science Foundation Recognizes Six Inspiring Researchers and Scientists

Bengaluru – November 15, 2017

The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) today announced the winners of the Infosys Prize 2017, across six fields: Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. Now in its ninth year, the Infosys Prize continues to honour and recognize 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. The prize for each category consists of a purse of Rs. 65 lakh, a 22-karat gold medallion and a citation certificate.

The winners were shortlisted from over 236 nominations by a scholarly jury panel, comprising renowned scientists and professors. The jury chairs of the six categories are: Prof. Pradeep K. Khosla (University of California, San Diego) for Engineering and Computer Science; Prof. Amartya Sen (Harvard University) for Humanities; Dr. Inder Verma (Salk Institute of Biological Sciences) for Life Sciences; Prof. Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan (New York University) for Mathematical Sciences; Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni (California Institute of Technology) for Physical Sciences; and Prof. Kaushik Basu (Cornell University and former SVP, World Bank) for Social Sciences.

The six winners were informed of their selection shortly before the announcement via a phone call from the trustees and the respective jury chairs. The winners of the Infosys Prize 2017 are:

Engineering and Computer Science
Prof. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, for a scholarly record in algorithmic optimization and for its significant 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.

Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English Literature, King’s College London, for her highly original explorations of the long-standing historical elements – conceptual, social and cultural – in colonial modernity, and for her subtle and insightful ethnography of cultural and political life in Kashmir.

Life Sciences
Prof. Upinder Singh Bhalla, Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, for his pioneering contributions to the understanding of the brain’s computational machinery. His investigations have revealed essential neuronal computations that underlie the ability to acquire, integrate and store complex sensory information, and to utilize that information for decision and action.

Mathematical Sciences
Prof. Ritabrata Munshi, Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, for his outstanding contributions to analytic aspects of number theory. Besides ingenious contributions to the Diophantine problem, he has established important estimates known as sub-convexity bounds for a large class of L-functions with methods that are powerful and original.

Physical Sciences
Prof. Yamuna Krishnan, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, for her ground-breaking work in the emerging field of DNA architecture. By successfully manipulating DNA – the building blocks of life – to create biocompatible nanomachines, she has created novel ways of interrogating living systems, increasing our knowledge of cell function and getting one step closer to answering unresolved biomedical questions.

Social Sciences
Prof. Lawrence Liang, Professor, School of Law, Ambedkar University Delhi, in recognition of his creative scholarship on law and society. His prodigious output in the fields of 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.

Speaking during the event, Mr. K. Dinesh, President – Board of Trustees, Infosys Science Foundation, said, “The winners of Infosys Prize 2017 were selected from several nominations received from across universities and institutes and we are grateful to our distinguished jury members to have taken the time to evaluate and award the most deserving. By shining light on science, we hope to gradually stimulate the minds of future talent, and open up a new world of possibilities for all of us.”

He further added, “This award aligns with our core principle of promoting science and inspiring young researchers in the country. We are pleased to note that the Infosys Prize is increasingly gaining recognition and has become one of the most coveted prize awards in the field of science and research in the country.”

The Awards Ceremony for the Infosys Prize 2017 will be held on January 10, 2018, in Bengaluru. The winners will be felicitated by Prof. Kip S. Thorne, Professor Emeritus at California Institute of Technology. Prof. Thorne is a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his contributions to the observation of gravitational waves in 2015, posited by Albert Einstein a 100 years ago.

About The Infosys Science Foundation

The Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for-profit set up in 2009 by the board of directors of Infosys at the time and some senior management. The mission of the Foundation is to encourage an interest in science and research. The Foundation’s flagship initiative is the Infosys Prize, awarded annually to stellar work across six categories to contemporary researchers and scientists. It also engages in a host of related activities to further its mission.

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