Infosys Prize – 2010 announced

Chandrashekhar Khare, Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Sandip Trivedi, Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, Ashutosh Sharma, Chair Professor and Principal Investigator, Centre of Nanosciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Chetan E. Chitnis, Principal Leader, Malaria Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, Amita Baviskar, sociologist at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi and Nandini Sundar, Chairperson of the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics won Infosys Prize for the year 2010.

The Infosys Science Foundation, established by Infosys Technologies Ltd., on Monday, 25th October 2010, announced the winners in the five categories of the Infosys Prize 2010.

Chandrashekhar Khare got the prize for excellence in Mathematical Sciences. He won the prize for his “fundamental contribution” to number theory, particularly the solution he found for the Serre conjecture. Sandip Trivedi, won the prize in the Physical Sciences category for “finding an ingenious way” to solve two of the most outstanding puzzles of superstring theory — what is the origin of dark energy and why there is no mass-less scalar particle — simultaneously. He “revolutionised” the field of superstring theory and provided “the basis of much of the ongoing research throughput the world.”

Ashutosh Sharma won the prize in the Engineering and Computer Science category for his “fundamental contributions” in materials science.

Professor Chitnis’ won the prize for his work in Life Sciences providing the basis for development of a viable malarial vaccine. Amita Baviskar, and Nandini Sundar were declared joint winners of the prize for excellence in Social Sciences. While Professor Baviskar won the prize for her work on social movements in contemporary India, Professor Sundar was awarded the prize for her contribution to the understanding of social identities.

The jury for Mathematics category was headed by Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, Professor of Mathematics, and Frank J. Gould, Professor of Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

The jury for Physical sciences category was headed by Shrinivas Kulkarni, astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.

In the Life Sciences the jury was headed by Prof. Inder Verma, American Cancer Society Professor and the first incumbent of the Irwin Mark Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Sciences in the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, U.S. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen headed the jury for the prize, which will be shared by the two winners.

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys, and a trustee of the Foundation, said the Prize “aims to recognise and acknowledge the outstanding work done by researchers, creating role models and thereby encouraging the youth to pursue careers in scientific research.” He said research “is the key to sustaining India’s growth.”

The six winners were drawn from 201 nominations. Each prize carries a cash award of Rs. 50 lakh, which Mr. Narayana Murthy said would not be taxed in the hands of the prize winner.

The award ceremony will be held on January 6, 2011 in Mumbai, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present the awards to the winners. The corpus for the prize was established with an initial contribution of a total of Rs. 45 crore by members of the executive board of Infosys. About half the current corpus of Rs. 100 crore has been as a grant from Infosys.

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