The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) has inaugurated its new office in Bengaluru in an event held earlier today. At its new office in South Bengaluru, near Southend Circle, ISF hopes it to be a hub for science-based activities, engagement, collaboration and outreach in the city. The event was attended by most trustees of the ISF, several laureates and jurors of the Infosys Prize, invited guests and media representatives.
President of the Infosys Science Foundation, Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan delivered the welcome address. Mr N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys, and Trustee, Infosys Science Foundation delivered the keynote address virtually. Mr Murthy said, "My fond hope is that this modern building will be a citadel of openness to new ideas, curiosity, critical thinking, healthy skepticism, and agreeable disagreement for our young minds, and shape their minds to become good researchers.”
Ms Bhavna Mehra, General Manager of ISF earlier set the context by sharing the visions of the Trustees of ISF. The guests who were present included Prof K VijayRaghavan, one of the early laureates and former Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof Spenta Wadia, Prof Sriram Ramaswamy, Prof Jayant Haritsa, Prof Arindam Ghosh, Prof S K Satheesh, Prof Mahesh Shankaran, Dr Chandrasekhar Nair, Dr Dhananjay Dendukuri among others including young researchers, students, and public figures.
“Bengaluru clearly is the science capital of India. A century ago, it was Kolkata, but now there is no doubt that Bengaluru is the science capital. Of course, this has been possible with the generous support of the Government of Karnataka, many other institutions including some private philanthropy too”, remarked Dr Jahnavi Phalkey, Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru.
She was responding as a panellist during the panel discussion on ‘Enabling Arts and Sciences through Public Spaces’. The panel also included Ms Arundhati Ghosh, Executive Director, India Foundation for the Arts and Mr V. Ravichandar, Honorary Director, Bangalore International Centre. The panel had a very interesting discussion on the need for more public spaces to engage citizens in arts and sciences. The Science Gallery Bengaluru is also slated for inauguration later this year in north Bengaluru.
Earlier, a panel of students at various stages of their education and research careers comprising a school student, an undergraduate student, a doctoral student and a post-doctoral researcher, all women, spoke about their work, experiences and aspirations in the Indian research landscape. The event was also livestreamed on YouTube.
The coveted Infosys Prizes awarded annually since 2009 have been the most popular activity by the ISF. These are awarded to Indian researchers to recognise their path-breaking research, with the goal of inspiring young Indians to choose research as a career. The Infosys Prize is awarded to researchers in six categories: Engineering and Computer Science, Mathematical Sciences, Social Sciences, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Humanities. The prize includes a 22 KT gold medal, a citation, and a purse of USD 100,000 (or its equivalent in Rupees). The prize purse is tax-free in the hands of winners in India.
Research Matters has earlier featured the works of many laureates in the past and have produced podcasts based on interactions with some of the laureates (with Prof. Anand Pandian and Prof. Kaushik Basu; with Prof. Siddhartha Mishra and Prof. Srinivasa Varadhan; with Prof Arindam Ghosh and Prof Shrinivas Kulkarni; and with Prof Prachi Deshpande and Prof Akeel Bilgrami.
For south Bengalureans, they will be pampered with more science-based events along with the B.V. Jagadeesh Science Centre at the National College, Jayanagar, only about a kilometre from the new ISF office. In any case, the new space at Jayanagar promises as a much-needed public space to further the cause of enhancing the public understanding of science.