Infosys Science Foundation awards Infosys Prize 2016 to six top researchers in science and humanities

The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF)’s Infosys Prize 2016 were given away in six fields at an awards ceremony in Bengaluru, celebrating their inspiring journey and contributions to science and research.

The Prize was given across the fields of Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, Nobel Prize Laureate and Padma Vibhushan, felicitated the winners and awarded each laureate a purse of Rs 65 lakhs, a 22-karat gold medallion and a citation certificate.

Trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation, S D Shibulal, President of the Board of Trustees, N R Narayana Murthy, Mohandas Pai, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Srinath Batni and K Dinesh, were present at the event, also attended by eminent scientists and leaders from different industries and academia.

Ramakrishnan commended the extraordinary work that the Infosys Science Foundation is doing to encourage scientific research in India, according to a Foundation release. “In a complex and technological world, it is increasingly important for all of us to understand the basis of science and technology, and to distinguish evidence-based facts from speculation and myth,” he said.

Scientists work quietly to advance the state of our understanding in areas of pure mathematics and physics all the way to medicine and engineering, and the Infosys prize is a nice way to recognise the work of some leading scientists and stimulate public interest in science, he said.

1) Engineering and Computer Science: V Kumaran, Professor, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, for his work on fluid flow in soft tubes. His work has lead to the development of lab on a chip devices, especially for the field of cardiovascular health.

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2) Humanities: Prof Sunil Amrith, Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies, Professor of History, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. Amrith writes history books on the interconnected histories of countries in South and South-East Asia, with a focus on migration and its consequences.

3) Life Sciences: Prof Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. Kang was awarded the prize for her investigations into the rotavirus, infections of which are deadly to infants in India and around the world. Kang has designed public health policies to contain the spread of the virus, and has also contributed towards the synthesis of vaccines against infectious diseases.

4) Mathematical Sciences: Akshay Venkatesh, Professor, Department of Mathematics, Stanford University, USA. Venkatesh hunts for new patterns in whole numbers, and works with techniques drawn from analytic number theory, ergodic theory, and homotopy theory. Venkatesh has explained a number of puzzling mathematical phenomena.

5) Physical Sciences: Dr Anil Bhardwaj, Director, Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. Bhardwaj is a planetary scientist who has a payload in every Indian space mission. Bhardwaj has conducted experiments on India’s moon mission, Chandrayaan 1 and India’s first Mars mission, the Mars Orbiter. He has discovered new insights on solar wind interactions on the surface of the Moon, as well as the new information on the atmosphere of Mars.

6) Social Sciences: Prof Kaivan Munshi, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, UK. Munshi is an economist who has investigated the effects of  informal community networks to the economy. His work has lead to a better understanding of how networks of socially connected individuals enhance or hinder the recovery process during times of economic crisis.

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Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for-profit trust funded by a corpus which today stands at over Rs 140 crore contributed by the trustees and Infosys.