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IISc, IIT professors among 6 winners of Infosys Science Prize

Bengaluru, Nov 7 (IANS) Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Professor G. Mugesh has been named as among the six winners of the Infosys Science Prize 2019 in Physical Sciences for his seminal work in the chemical synthesis of small molecules and nano-materials for bio-medical applications, the software major said on Thursday.

Among the other winners are Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-Bombay) computer science and engineering chair professor Sunita Sarawagi for her research in databases, data mining, machine learning and natural language processing, which led to important applications.

According to ISF, Sarawagi’s work finds practical application in cleaning unstructured data such as addresses on the internet and repositories, enabling efficient handling of queries.

IIT-Mandi School of Humanities and Social Sciences assistant professor Manu V. Devadevan received the award for his original and wide ranging work on pre-modern South India.

“He critically reinterprets much of the conventional wisdom about the cultural, religious and social history of the Deccan and South India,” said the ISF commenting on his contribution.

Recognised under the Humanities category, Devadevan’s primary research interests are political and economic processes in pre-modern South India, including literary practices and ancient inscriptions.

Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology’s (CCMB) chief scientist Manjula Reddy won the prize under life sciences category for her ground breaking discoveries on the structure of bacteria cell walls.

Reddy along with her colleagues identified the critical steps of cell wall growth, which serve as fundamental pointers for comprehending bacterial biology, ISF said.

“This work could potentially help in creating a new class of antibiotics to combat antibiotic-resistant microbes,” said ISF.

In the mathematical sciences category, professor Siddhartha Mishra at Swiss University ETH Zurich won the award for his contribution to applied mathematics.

His work particularly focused on designing numerical tools for tackling real world problems, with applications in climate modelling, astrophysics, aerodynamics and plasma physics, said ISF.

Mishra generated codes for addressing calamities such as tsunamis triggered by rock slides and waves in the solar atmosphere.

Anand Pandian, anthropology professor at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University in the US won the prize for his work on ethics, selfhood and creative process.

Pandian’s research in the varsity’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences consisted of popular themes such as cinema, public culture, ecology, nature and the theory and methods of anthropology.

“His writing pushes the boundaries of how anthropologists render into words the worlds they encounter. His work breaks new ground,” said the ISF.

The Infosys prize carries a gold medal, citation and a purse of $100,000 which is the equivalent of Rs 71 lakh, the company said in a statement.

On the 11th edition of the prize, ISF president S.D. Shibulal said: “The Infosys prize continues to recognize exemplary work in scientific research and enquiry. Many Infosys Prize laureates have gone on to contribute significantly.”

Set up in 2009 as a not-for-profit organisation by Infosys co-founders N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nanda Nilekani, S. Gopalakrishnan, S.D. Shibulal and Dinesh, the Foundation promotes interest in science and research in the country.




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