Bengaluru witnessed a momentous occasion as the Infosys Science Foundation proudly revealed the winners of the Infosys Prize 2023. Spanning six categories—engineering and computer science, humanities, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences—the laureates were lauded for their outstanding contributions. Let’s delve into the remarkable achievements of these luminaries who have left an indelible mark in their respective fields.
1. Engineering and Computer Science – Sachchida Nand Tripathi
Meet Sachchida Nand Tripathi, a distinguished professor of sustainable energy engineering at IIT-Kanpur. Recognized for deploying a large-scale sensor-based air quality network and mobile laboratory, Prof. Tripathi’s work combines artificial intelligence and machine learning for effective air quality management. His groundbreaking findings in understanding winter haze formation in Delhi could revolutionize approaches to combat air pollution in India.
2. Humanities – Jahnavi Phalkey
Jahnavi Phalkey, the founding director of Science Gallery Bengaluru, received accolades for her granular insights into the histories of scientific research in modern India. Her work, notably “The Atomic State,” weaves together global history and the anthropology of the postcolonial state, providing profound insights into the everyday lives of science in India. Dr. Phalkey emphasizes the importance of viewing the history of science through the lens of power, practice, and the nation-state.
3. Life Sciences – Arun Kumar Shukla
Arun Kumar Shukla, a distinguished professor of biological sciences and bioengineering at IIT-Kanpur, earned recognition for his far-reaching contributions to G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) biology. Prof. Shukla’s research has not only deepened our understanding of GPCRs, crucial drug targets, but has also paved the way for novel and effective therapeutics. His work holds the promise of reshaping the landscape of drug discovery.
4. Mathematical Sciences – Bhargav Bhatt
Bhargav Bhatt, the Fernholz Joint Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University, stands as a luminary in the field of arithmetic geometry and commutative algebra. Collaborating with German mathematician Peter Scholze, Prof. Bhatt’s work in prismatic cohomology introduces revolutionary ideas and powerful methods, leaving an indelible mark in the heart of pure mathematics.
5. Physical Sciences – Mukund Thattai
Mukund Thattai, a professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and bioinformatics at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, is celebrated for his groundbreaking contributions to evolutionary cell biology. Prof. Thattai, a physicist, explores the emergence of complex cellular organization from microscopic disorder, offering profound insights into one of biology’s central mysteries. His work has the potential to reshape our understanding of the origins of complex cells.
6. Social Sciences – Karuna Mantena
Karuna Mantena, a professor of political science at Columbia University, has made significant contributions to the theory of imperial rule. Her impactful book, “Alibis of Empire,” and related papers are landmarks in political theory, shedding light on the late imperial ideology’s role in the emergence of modern social theory. Prof. Mantena’s work underscores the importance of understanding historical shifts and the nuanced interplay of power in shaping societal narratives.
Winding it up
As the Infosys Prize 2023 recognizes brilliance and innovation, it reinforces the foundation’s commitment to driving meaningful conversations around science and society. The laureates, shortlisted from an impressive pool of 224 nominations, stand as beacons of inspiration, showcasing the transformative power of learnability, creativity, and innovation in navigating the complexities of our ever-evolving world.