Six individuals awarded for noteworthy contributions to science and society
Bengaluru, India – November 15, 2022: The Infosys Science Foundation today announced the winners of the Infosys Prize 2022 in six categories – Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. The Infosys Prize celebrates the achievements of the recipients and awards them for their contributions to science and research impacting India. The prize for each category comprises a gold medal, a citation, and a prize purse of USD 100,000 (or its equivalent in Rupees). The event was held at the Infosys Science Foundation’s new office, in Bengaluru.
Panels of accomplished jurors comprising world-renowned scholars and experts shortlisted the winners of the Infosys Prize 2022 from 218 nominations. Over the past thirteen years, Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) has recognized the accomplishments of some of the best and creative scientific research that has contributed to every aspect of human life. In recognizing these outstanding researchers, ISF is not just celebrating their personal achievements but also encouraging young minds to explore science and research as a career option. The Infosys Prize counts among its laureates two Nobel Prize winners, two Fields Medal winners, a MacArthur fellow, and others who have gone on to hold high posts in government and academia.
Among those in attendance at the event were the trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation—Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Mr. Narayana Murthy, Mr. Srinath Batni, Mr. K. Dinesh, Mr. Mohandas Pai, Mr. Salil Parekh, and Mr. S. D. Shibulal.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, President, Infosys Science Foundation, said, “The Infosys Prize is promoting stellar research in India by identifying and rewarding individual scholars. Even as our laureates add to the sum total of human knowledge, their work has real impact in the here and now. We hope that their work will have far-reaching effects not just in solving our current problems but will set the stage for finding solutions for the existential crises facing humanity such as the effects of climate change, accessible diagnostics and healthcare, challenges of mental health, fulfilment of fundamental human rights, and others.”
Elaborating on the importance of funding science and research in India, Narayana Murthy, Founder – Infosys, Trustee – Infosys Science Foundation, said, “There is an urgent need for both government and private sectors to invest more in science and research. This is the best way forward to solve the many problems that confront us as a nation and humanity as a whole. Our researchers are the country’s frontline warriors in the war against our grand problems. That is why we must encourage them. Winners of the Infosys Prize have gone on to do useful work in their desire to solve the daunting problems that face the nation and the world today.”
Winners of the Infosys Prize 2022 in the six categories are:
Engineering and Computer Science
The Infosys Prize 2022 in Engineering and Computer Science is awarded to Suman Chakraborty,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dean of Research and Development, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur for his pioneering work in elucidating the interaction of fluid mechanics, interfacial phenomena, and electromechanics at the micro- and nanoscale. Using this understanding, he has helped to advance healthcare in resource-limited settings through the invention of novel low-cost medical devices for sensing, diagnostics and therapeutics.
The Infosys Prize 2022 in Humanities is awarded to Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice Chancellor, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru for his insightful understanding of the Indian Constitution, especially his carefully argued account of the importance of the landmark ‘basic structure doctrine’ adopted by the Supreme Court in 1973 that guides and constrains various efforts to amend it, while also ensuring its stability in the face of executive and legislative outcomes in India’s political life.
The Infosys Prize 2022 in Life Sciences is awarded to Vidita Vaidya, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai for her fundamental contributions to understanding brain mechanisms that underlie mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, including signals engaged by the neurotransmitter serotonin in causing persistent changes in behavior induced by early life stress and the role of serotonin in energy regulation in brain cells. In a post-pandemic age when the focus on mental health has become ever more urgent and important, Prof. Vaidya’s work is extremely contextual.
The Infosys Prize 2022 in Mathematical Sciences is awarded to Mahesh Kakde, Professor of Mathematics, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru for his outstanding contributions to algebraic number theory. Prof. Kakde’s deep work on the non-commutative Iwasawa main conjecture, his work on the Gross-Stark conjecture (with Samit Dasgupta and Kevin Ventullo), and his work on the Brumer-Stark conjecture (with Samit Dasgupta), resolves outstanding conjectures at the heart of modern number theory. Often called the queen of mathematics, number theory studies the relationships between numbers and often has practical applications in areas such as cryptography.
The Infosys Prize 2022 in Physical Sciences is awarded to Nissim Kanekar, Professor, National Centre for Radio Astronomy, Pune for his study of galaxies in an era – the so-called “high noon” period – in which stars were being formed at a maximum rate. Separately, his careful astronomical investigations have placed the strongest limit on possible secular variation of the fine structure constant and the electron-to-proton mass ratio. Prof. Kanekar’s work has put India’s radio astronomy capabilities on the world map.
The Infosys Prize 2022 in Social Sciences is awarded to Rohini Pande, Henry J. Heinz II Professor of Economics and Director, Economic Growth Center, Yale University for her outstanding research on subjects of key importance, including governance and accountability, women’s empowerment, the role of credit in the lives of the poor, and the environment. Her empirical findings, based on diverse methodologies, offer major promise and potential for policy design in emerging economies, including India. As discussions on the fallout from the climate crisis, social justice, and what makes for a just and equitable society become ever more urgent, Prof. Pande’s work has tremendous implications.