6 get Infy prize for contribution to science, humanities

6 get Infy prize for contribution to science, humanities
The annual ‘Infosys Prize’ by the Infosys Science Foundation was awarded to six individuals at a ceremony on Saturday, for their contribution to the fields of science and humanities.

The awards were presented in the categories of Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.

Professor V Kumaran from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, received the award in the category of ‘Engineering and Computer Science’. He was awarded for his work in fluid flows in soft-walled tubes which is important in developing devices in the field of cardiovascular health.

Prof Sunil Amrith, a historian at Harvard University, was awarded in the ‘Humanities’ category for his study on the interconnected history of South and South East Asia.

In the ‘Life Sciences’ category, Prof Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, received the award. Her work on the natural history of rotavirus helped in understanding why vaccines against the diarrhoea-causing virus were not effective on Indians. Her findings are crucial to preventing the disease which causes a large number of infant deaths in the country.

Prof Akshay Venkatesh, a number theorist in Stanford University, was awarded in the ‘Mathematical Sciences’ for his contributions to solving problems in number theory. In the ‘Physical Sciences’ category, the prize went to Dr Anil Bhardwaj, director of the Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. His experiments on Chandrayaan 1 and Mars Orbiter Mission yielded new information on the Martian atmosphere.

Prof Kaivan Munshi, Professor of Economics, at the University of Cambridge, UK, received the award in the ‘Social Sciences’ category for his research on the role of informal community networks in economic development. The awardees received a purse of Rs 65 lakh, a 22-carat gold medallion and a citation certificate from the chief guest, Nobel Prize laureate Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.

Addressing the audience, Dr Ramakrishnan said, “The Indian government under-invests in science. Unlike European countries, investment in R&D by the private sector in India is also abysmally low.”

He encouraged scientists and researchers to think of India’s diverse issues as opportunities for new discoveries and innovation.
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