AsianScientist (Jul. 5, 2016) – India is going into space in a big way. Hot on the heels of the discovery of gravitational waves earlier this year, the Indian Cabinet has granted in-principle approval to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory Project in India to pinpoint and analyze the sources of gravitational waves.
The LIGO-India Project brings together three of the country’s top research institutes—the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology and the Institute for Plasma Research—to build an Advanced LIGO Observatory in India, much like the one in North America where scientists made the historic discovery.
In the face of excessive space spending, India is also admirably resourceful. The nation has built and launched an entire satellite navigation system on a tight budget of US$350 million. A similar project in Europe, on the other hand, costs governments billions of euros.
Back on Earth, India is a heavyweight in the international science and technology research arena, thanks in part to the efforts of its Department of Science and Technology in promoting and supporting research. Here, we feature a handful of Indian scientists that are breaking new ground in space, biomedical science, pharmaceuticals and beyond.
- K. Radhakrishnan
Radhakrishnan is the recently retired chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He spearheaded India’s Mangalyaan mission, the first Asian space probe to successfully orbit Mars. Radhakrishnan was named by Nature magazine as one of the ten people who mattered in 2014. That year, he also received the Padma Bhushan award, India’s third highest civilian award. He is chairman of the Indian Institutes of Engineering Science and Technology and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology.
(Photo: K. Radhakrishnan/LinkedIn)
- C. L. Laxmipathi Gowda
Gowda, deputy director-general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), received the 2014 Sano Touzaburo Special Prize—“Asia’s World Food Prize”—for developing chickpea cultivars with high yield and resistance to diseases and pests.
- Satyajit Mayor
Mayor, director of India’s National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) was elected as foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2015 for his work on the molecular mechanisms of endocytosis in metazoan cells.
(Photo: Infosys Science Foundation)
- Surendra Shastri
Apart from his work as co-founder of the Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control and director of the Smokefree Mumbai Campaign, Shastri has developed a highly effective and low cost screening method for cervical cancer based on vinegar. The results of the 12-year study involving over 150,000 women showed that the screen could help reduce cancer deaths by 31 percent, all at the cost of just 30 rupees per test.
(Photo: Asian Scientist Magazine)
- Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
- Srivari Chandrasekhar
Chandrasekhar won the Infosys Prize 2014 in Physical Sciences for his research into the synthesis of complex molecules from natural sources and was appointed director of the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) in 2015.
(Photo: Infosys Science Foundation)
- C.N. R. Rao
Rao was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, Japan’s highest civilian award, for his contributions to science and Indo-Japanese science cooperation. He is the only Indian to be elected as a foreign member of the Japan Academy.
(Photo: Royal Society of Chemistry)
- M. R. Srinivasan
The chief architect of India’s nuclear power program won the 2015 Padma Vibhushan Award, India’s second highest civilian award.
(Photo: M. R. Srinivasan)
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr/CC.
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