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Lone woman among winners as Infosys Prize awarded for contributions to science and research

Prachi Deshpande from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS), Kolkata, won the Humanities award for her nuanced and sophisticated treatment of South Asian historiography

Published: 02nd December 2020 07:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2020 07:26 PM   |  A+A-

Narayana Murthy, founder, Infosys, and President, Infosys Science Foundation, said prizes were given to researchers and scientists with potential to improve our world (Photo | Reuters)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) on Wednesday hosted its 12th Infosys Prize ceremony virtually to celebrate individuals for their contributions to science and research.

Winners from six diverse fields -- Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences -- received a pure gold medal, a citation and a purse of USD 100,000. They were picked from among 257 nominations.

The lone woman among the winners this year was Prachi Deshpande from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS), Kolkata who won the Humanities award for her nuanced and sophisticated treatment of South Asian historiography.

Prof Hari Balakrishnan from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology won the Engineering and Computer Science award, for his broad contributions to computer networking and his seminal work on mobile and wireless systems.

Rajan Sankaranarayanan from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, won the Life Sciences award for fundamental contributions towards understanding error-free translation of the genetic code to make protein molecules.

Prof Sourav Chatterjee from Stanford University won the Mathematical Sciences award for his groundbreaking work in probability and statistical physics.

The Physical Sciences award was won by Prof. Arindam Ghosh from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, for his development of atomically thin two-dimensional semiconductors to build a new generation of functional electronic, thermoelectric and optoelectronic devices.

Prof. Raj Chetty from Harvard University was given the Social Sciences award for pioneering research in identifying barriers to economic opportunity, and for developing solutions that help people escape poverty towards improved life outcomes.

"As research efforts of most of our scientists impact our daily lives, it places an ethical responsibility on them. The primary responsibility however, rests collectively with societies, governments and international organizations to regulate and control harmful side effects of scientific research and discovery," said S R Srinivasa Varadhan, Abel Prize winner and Professor, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York, who felicitated the winners.

"The trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation dream of an India where the poorest children can have reasonable access to nutrition, education, healthcare and shelter, and have confidence in a better future. For that, we need well thought out and impactful ideas that are speedily executed without corruption," said Narayana Murthy, founder, Infosys, and President, Infosys Science Foundation, adding that prizes were given to researchers and scientists with potential to improve our world.

Trustees of the Infosys Science foundation Srinath Batni, K. Dinesh, S. Gopalakrishnan, Nandan Nilekani, Mohandas Pai and S. D. Shibulal were in attendance for the virtual ceremony.

The chairs of the jury were Prof. Arvind (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for Engineering and Computer Science, Prof. Kaushik Basu (Cornell University and former SVP, World Bank) for Social Sciences, Prof. Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University) for Humanities, Prof. Chandrashekhar Khare (University of California, Los Angeles) for Mathematical Sciences, Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni (California Institute of Technology) for Physical Sciences, and Prof. Mriganka Sur (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for Life Sciences.



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