Bangalore, Feb 8 :
Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan Saturday presented the Infosys Science Prizes to five eminent scientists, a noted historian and a reputed linguist at an award ceremony here.
The awards are set up by the Indian IT bellwether’s Infosys Science Foundation.
Annan, who headed the UN for a decade from 1997 to 2006 as its seventh secretary-general, also felicitated the seven winners and wished them success in all their endeavours.
The winners are Ramgopal Rao, nanoelectronics professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, in engineering and computer science; Rajesh Gokhale, director of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, in life sciences; Rahul Pandharipande, mathematics professor at Eidgenussiche Technische Hochschule, Zurich (Switzerland), in mathematical sciences; Shiraz Naval Minwalla, theoretical physics professor at Tata Institute of Fundamental (TIFR), Mumbai, in physical sciences and Aninhalli R. Vasavi, senior fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, in social sciences.
Nayanjot Lahiri, history professor in University of Delhi and Ayesha Kidwai, professor in linguistics in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, shared the prize in humanities.
Set up by the Indian IT bellwether Infosys Ltd, the not-for-profit trust is funded by a corpus of Rs.100 crore ($18 million), contributed by its trustees, including co-founders of the company.
The prize money, awarded every year since 2009 in each of the six science disciplines and humanities, has been increased to Rs.55 lakh (Rs.5.5 million) from Rs.50 lakh (Rs.5 million) this year.
In addition to the prize purse, each category award includes a gold medallion and a citation.
“Science and research are imperative pillars in any nation’s progress. By honouring outstanding researchers and celebrating their achievements, our prize aims to inspire young minds in India to explore sciences and increase innovative work being done in the country today,” Infosys’ founder chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy said on the occasion here.
The winners were evaluated and chosen by a panel of jurors comprising eminent scientists and professors from the world over for the impact their research will have in their respective fields.
The jury chairs are Pradeep K. Khosla (for Engineering & Computer Science), Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen (Humanities), Inder Verma (Life Sciences), Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan (Mathematical Sciences); Shrinivas Kulkarni (Physical Sciences) and Kaushik Basu (Social Sciences).
In its efforts to mainstream science, the foundation invites eminent personalities to give public talks across the country as part of its year-long lecture series.
The foundation also organises an inter-school festival ‘Limit Infinity’, aimed at fostering interest in science among school students, keeping physics as the central theme for 2013.