Six winners of the Infosys Prize 2023 Felicitated

The laureates were awarded with a pure gold medal, a citation, and a prize purse of

USD 100,000 by Nobel laureate Prof. Brian Schmidt

Karuna Mantena from Hyderabad awarded the Infosys Prize 2023 for her exemplary contributions in the field of Social Sciences

Bengaluru, India – January 13, 2024: The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) today awarded the winners of the Infosys Prize 2023 at a felicitation ceremony in Bengaluru. Over the past 15 years, the Infosys Prize has recognized mid-career researchers for their impactful work across disciplines and significant contributions to scientific research India. The winners were conferred the prize for their stellar contributions across six fields, namely Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. The winners were felicitated by Chief Guest Prof. Brian Schmidt, Nobel Laureate, former Vice Chancellor and Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at Australian National University, with a pure gold medal, a citation, and a prize purse of USD 100,000.

The event was attended by distinguished scientists and academicians from around the globe, business leaders, young researchers, and students. Trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation – Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan (President—Board of Trustees), Mr. Narayana Murthy, Mr. Srinath Batni, Mr. K. Dinesh, Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Mr. Mohandas Pai, Mr. Salil Parekh, and Mr. S.D. Shibulal were present at the award ceremony.

Expressing his thoughts on the occasion, Chief Guest Prof. Brian Schmidt, said, “It is a genuine privilege to be part of the Infosys Prize ceremony this year, which highlight the remarkable contributions that Indians are making to the advancement of knowledge through research. The awardees, who cover the breadth of the academy, are world leaders in research, and its translation for the benefit of humanity. The world needs such knowledge to help us live peacefully and sustainably on a planet that isn’t getting any bigger, even though humanity’s footprint is. India’s contribution to the world of knowledge is growing quickly, and I am honored to be part of a celebration of some of the most significant advances that we are honoring in this year’s ceremony.”

Highlighting the importance of investing in science and research, Kris Gopalakrishnan, President, Infosys Science Foundation, said, “The Infosys Prize, in its 15th year now, continues to focus on recognizing important scientific research and inspire future generations to take up careers in science. Bringing scientific research into mainstream conversation is the need of the hour and we require coordinated effort to ensure that the scientific environment of the country goes from strength to strength. We congratulate our laureates for their exceptional achievements. Their work is instrumental in India’s growth story, and we are proud to honor them.”

The winners were chosen from 224 nominations by jury panels chaired by eminent academics: Prof. Arvind (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for Engineering and Computer Science; Prof. Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University) for Humanities; Prof. Mriganka Sur (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for Life Sciences; Prof. Chandrashekhar Khare (University of California, Los Angeles) for Mathematical Sciences; Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni (California Institute of Technology) for Physical Sciences; and Prof. Kaushik Basu (Cornell University) for Social Sciences.

Winners of the Infosys Prize 2023 in the six categories are:

Engineering and Computer Science

The Infosys Prize 2023 in Engineering and Computer Science is awarded to Sachchida Nand Tripathi, Professor, Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE), IIT-Kanpur, for the deployment of large-scale sensor-based air quality network and mobile laboratory for hyper local measurements of pollution, data generation and analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning for effective air quality management and citizens awareness. Prof. Tripathi’s work has shown that the important differences between observations of winter haze formation in Delhi and those in other places like Beijing are that the nano-particle growth-rate in Delhi is much higher and happens at night without photochemistry. This finding holds the key to mitigating air pollution in India.

Humanities

The Infosys Prize 2023 in Humanities is awarded to Jahnavi Phalkey, Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru, for her brilliant and granular insights into the individual, institutional, and material histories of scientific research in modern India. Her book, The Atomic State, and many articles insightfully braid the global history of science, especially nuclear science, with the anthropology of the postcolonial state to illuminate rich and textured histories of the everyday lives of science in India. Dr. Phalkey’s work has emphasized the need to see the history of science as much as a history of scientific ideas, as one of power, practice, and the nation-state.

Life Sciences

The Infosys Prize 2023 in Life Sciences is awarded to Arun Kumar Shukla, Professor, Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, IIT-Kanpur, for his outstanding and far-reaching contributions to the field of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) biology. Prof. Shukla’s research has established a new understanding of GPCRs, which are one of the most important classes of drug targets. His work has opened up previously uncharted avenues for designing novel and effective therapeutics with minimal side-effects.

Mathematical Sciences

The Infosys Prize 2023 in Mathematical Sciences is awarded to Bhargav Bhatt, Fernholz Joint Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University, for his outstanding and fundamental contributions to arithmetic geometry and commutative algebra. Prof. Bhatt’s joint work in prismatic cohomology with German mathematician Peter Scholze introduces new ideas and powerful methods in this area at the heart of pure mathematics.

Physical Sciences

The Infosys Prize 2023 in Physical Sciences is awarded to Mukund Thattai, Professor, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Bioinformatics, National Centre for Biological Sciences, in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to evolutionary cell biology. Prof. Thattai is a physicist who researches how complex cellular organization emerged from microscopic disorder. Thattai’s work could have profound implications in one of biology’s central mysteries of how complex cells emerged from primordial ones. He is among the pioneers of the physics of life.

Social Sciences

The Infosys Prize 2023 in Social Sciences is awarded to Karuna Mantena, Professor, Political Science, Columbia University for her groundbreaking research on the theory of imperial rule, and the claim that this late imperial ideology became one of the important factors in the emergence of modern social theory. Prof. Mantena’s book Alibis of Empire and related papers are landmark publications in political theory with implications for all social sciences. Her impactful book helps us understand that the dramatic shift in imperial policy, following the 1857 rebellion in India was not a straightforward reaction to this traumatic event but legitimated by a new ideology of indirect imperial rule that was carefully crafted by the ingenious conceptual work of thinker-administrators such as Henry Maine.

For more information on the Infosys Prize winners’ work, we invite you to read the Infosys Prize 2023 citation brochure on our website www.infosysprize.org.

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