Six individuals awarded for their remarkable contributions to scientific research in India
Bengaluru, India – November 15, 2023 Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) today announced the winners of the Infosys Prize 2023 in six categories – Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences. Since its inception in 2008, the Infosys Prize has honored the accomplishments of the recipients and awarded them for their contributions to scientific research and scholarship impacting India. The prize for each category comprises a gold medal, a citation, and a prize purse of USD 100,000 (or its equivalent in INR). The event was hosted at Infosys Science Foundation’s office in Bengaluru.
The laureates of Infosys Prize 2023 were shortlisted from 224 nominations by an international panel of jurors comprising world-renowned scholars and experts. Over the past 15 years, ISF has recognized some of the best groundbreaking research and scholarship that has contributed to every aspect of human life. The Infosys Prize is currently the largest award in India that recognizes excellence in science and research.
Infosys Prize laureates have gone on to win many international accolades. These include the Nobel Prize (Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo), the Fields medal (Manjul Bhargava and Akshay Venkatesh), the Dan David Prize (Sanjay Subrahmanyam), the MacArthur ‘genius’ Grant (Sunil Amrith), and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (Ashoke Sen). Several laureates have been elected fellows of the Royal Society, among them Gagandeep Kang, who became the first Indian woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society. Others have gone on to hold influential posts in government and academia.
The winners of the Infosys Prize 2023 were announced by the trustees of Infosys Science Foundation – Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan (President, Board of Trustees), Mr. Narayana Murthy, Mr. Srinath Batni, Mr. K. Dinesh, and Mr. S. D. Shibulal. The other trustees of Infosys Science Foundation – Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Mr. Mohandas Pai, and Mr. Salil Parekh – extended their felicitations.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, President – Infosys Science Foundation, said, “This year marks a landmark moment in Infosys Science Foundation’s journey. Over the course of 15 years, the Infosys Prize has recognized mid-career researchers who have done impactful, groundbreaking work across disciplines. The prize has helped drive conversations around their work and on a larger scale created meaningful engagement around science and society. I congratulate the winners of the Infosys Prize 2023.”
Sharing his thoughts, Narayana Murthy, Founder – Infosys, Trustee – Infosys Science Foundation, said, “Learnability, creativity and innovation are the ways to navigate our fast-changing world. We must be daringly inventive to tackle the daunting and persistent problems of today. The laureates of the Infosys Prize have shown us the importance of this adaptive thinking through their approach to problem solving – be it for centuries old conjectures in mathematics, translational medicine and diagnostics or finding solutions to societal challenges like poverty. For this I congratulate all the winners of the Infosys Prize and those who have won in 2023.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.