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CSIR announces recipients of the 2019 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

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27 Sep 2019
Recipients of the 2019 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize by CSIR

In an announcement made yesterday, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has published a list of the recipients of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2019. The list includes twelve eminent scientists from various research institutions across the country, with only one woman scientist from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.

The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology is a prestigious honour and an annual award in science and technology in India. Awarded by CSIR, its named after its founder Director Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar. The award recognises outstanding contributions in the field of  Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Medical Sciences and Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences. The award is announced each year on the 26th of September to mark the CSIR Foundation Day. It comprises a citation, a plaque, a cash award of ₹5 lakh and an endowment of Rs. 15,000 per month up to the age of 65 years.

Here are the list of recipients for 2019. Top row (from left): Prof. Kayarat Saikrishnan [Image Credits], Prof. Soumen Basak [Image Credits], Prof Raghavan B Sunoj [Image Credits], Prof Tapas Kumar Maji [Image Credits]. Middle row (from left): Prof Subimal Ghosh [Image Credits], Dr Manik Varma [Image Credits], Prof Dishant Mayurbhai Pancholi [Image Credits], Dr Neena Gupta [Image Credits]. Bottom row (from left): Dr Dhiraj Kumar [Image credits], Dr Mohammad Javed Ali [Image Credits], Prof Aninda Sinha [Image Credits], Prof Shankar Ghosh [Image Credits].

In the field of Biological Sciences, Prof Kayarat Saikrishnan from the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, and Prof. Soumen Basak from the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, have been recognised for their contributions. Prof. Saikrishnan is a structural biologist whose work involves understanding the molecular mechanisms of enzyme coordination, actions and functions. Prof. Basak is an immunologist working to understand a type of signalling systems in DNA transcription, called the NF-kappaB signalling system.

Prof Raghavan B Sunoj from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), and Prof Tapas Kumar Maji from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, have been awarded in the Chemical Sciences category. Prof Sunoj’s work answers questions on properties of chemical reactions, catalysis, and the kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of chemical reactions using computational methods. Prof Maji has over 20 years of research experience in inorganic and materials chemistry. He is one of the highest cited authors in this field from India and works on organic polymers and gels.

Prof Subimal Ghosh from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) has been awarded for his work in the Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences category. His research interests include understanding and modeling Indian monsoon, climate change projections and extreme events. Some of his research work has been covered on Research Matters, including the one on the development of an expert system to predict floods in Chennai, analysis of Chennai’s 2015 floods and prediction of extreme rainfall events.

Dr Manik Varma, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research India and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, has been recognised for his contributions in the field of Engineering Sciences. His research interests include machine learning, computational advertising and computer vision.

In the field of Mathematical Sciences, Prof Dishant Mayurbhai Pancholi from the Institute of Mathematical Science, Chennai, and Dr Neena Gupta from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, have been honoured for their work. Prof Pancholi works on differential geometry, a field of mathematics that uses calculus and algebra to study problems in geometry. Dr Gupta is an Indian statistician and the youngest mathematician to propose a solution to the 70-year-old Zariski Cancellation Conjecture, a long-pending problem in algebraic geometry.

Dr Dhiraj Kumar from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, and Dr Mohammad Javed Ali from L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, have been awarded the coveted Prize in the Medical Sciences category. Dr Kumar’s work involves understanding the host-pathogen reactions in tuberculosis bacteria, design of biological networks and signalling events. Dr Ali is an ophthalmologist in India known for his work on tear duct surgery performed on the duct system of the eyes that drains tears. His other research areas include molecular pathogenesis of nasolacrimal duct obstruction in children, balloon catheter therapies, and minimally invasive lacrimal and endoscopic surgeries of the eyeball.

In the Physical Sciences category, Prof Aninda Sinha from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and Prof Shankar Ghosh from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, have made it to the list of winners. Prof. Sinha is a theoretical physicist who works on superstring theory that attempts to explain all the fundamental forces of nature by modelling them as vibrations. One of his work on solving Feynman Diagrams has been featured on Research Matters. Prof Ghosh is a soft matter physicist working to understand interesting phenomena of everyday materials, like peeling of paint or formation of cloud.