The Infosys Prize 2009 laureates were felicitated and awarded at a grand ceremony in New Delhi by the Honorable Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Chief Guest of the program hosted by the Infosys Science Foundation. The prize in each category comprised a special medallion, a citation expounding the laureate’s work and Rs. 50 lakh as prize money.
During this special evening, the jury chairs of the five disciplines – Prof. Amartya Sen for Social Sciences and Economics, Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni for Physical Sciences, Prof. Srinivas Varadhan for Mathematical Sciences, Prof. Subra Suresh for Engineering Sciences and Prof. Inder Verma for Life Sciences – described the evaluation methodology of each category and introduced the laureates.
The laureates of the Infosys Prize 2009, in the different disciplines are:
Thanu Padmanabhan of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, in recognition of his contribution to a deeper understanding of Einstein’s theory of gravity in the context of thermo dynamics and large-scale structure in cosmology.
Ashoke Sen of Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, in recognition of his fundamental contributions to Mathematical Physics, particularly to String Theory.
K. VijayRaghavan of National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bangalore, in recognition of his many contributions as a developmental geneticist and neurobiologist.
Social Sciences and Economics:
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the economic theory of development, and for his pioneering work in the empirical evaluation of public policy.
Upinder Singh of the University of Delhi, in recognition for her contributions as an outstanding historian of ancient and early medieval India.
No prize was awarded for the Engineering Sciences discipline this year. This is a unanimous decision by the Jury as they did not find a suitable candidate in accordance with the statutes of the Infosys Prize.
Delivering the welcome address, N R Narayana Murthy, the President of the Board of Trustees of the Infosys Science Foundation said, “Research in sciences is the bedrock of social and technological progress in our society and this has never been more crucial to India’s future than at this point in time.
There is a significant depth of scientific talent in this country and the objective of the Infosys Prize is to identify and encourage such outstanding talent. The work done by the Infosys Prize 2009 laureates are strong examples of the quality of research talent in India. By recognizing and appropriately rewarding their achievements, we hope to persuade more bright young people to adopt careers in research.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, said, “I congratulate the laureates of the Infosys Prize 2009. Their signal contributions in their areas of specialization have been recognized. They pursued excellence with an intensity that made all obstacles evaporate. Its recognition today will have a demonstration effect and inspire others to do likewise. It will boost the confidence of researchers in physical, biological and social sciences and related branches of knowledge.”
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