10 Scientists Awarded The 2017 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

Ten scientists under the age of 45 were honored for their significant contributions to science and technology with the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize.

AsianScientist (Oct. 3, 2017) – Ten scientists in India have been recognized with the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for their outstanding research efforts. The award is named after the late Dr. (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar who was the founder and director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) India. Divided into eight categories covering a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines, the award is open to scientists in India below the age of 45.

In the biological sciences category, Dr. Deepak Thankappan Nair of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology was honored for his work uncovering the mechanistic underpinnings of specialized DNA polymerase activity. He also described how viral RNA polymerases initiate genome replication accurately. A second award in the biological sciences category was conferred on Dr. Sanjeev Das of the Molecular Oncology Laboratory at the National Institute of Immunology. Das made significant discoveries relating to the function of the tumor suppressor protein, p53, and sirtuins.

The only chemical sciences award went to Dr. G. Naresh Patwari of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay for his research on vibrational spectroscopy in the gas phase. His findings have contributed to the understanding of hydrogen bonding at the molecular level.

In the category of the physical sciences, Dr. Nissim Kanekar received the prize for his contributions to astrophysics, where he defined stringent observational bounds on the evolution of the electron proton mass ratio and the fine structure constant over cosmological time scales. A second award for the physical sciences was granted to Dr. Vinay Gupta of the CSIR National Physical Laboraory for his highly translatable work in the fields of organic solar cells and carbon nanotube arrays.

On the other hand, two awards were given out in the engineering sciences category. Dr. Aloke Paul of the Indian Institute of Science (IIS) honored for generating insights into multi-component solid state diffusion that has important implications for the development of complex high-performance alloys. His colleague at the IIS, Dr. Neelesh B. Mehta, was the recipient of a second engineering prize. Mehta works on wireless communications, energy-harvesting wireless networks, interference modeling and co-operative communications.

Meanwhile, in the medical domain, Dr. Amit Dutt of the Research and Education in Cancer at the Tata Memorial Centre, and Dr. Deepak Gaur of the Jawaharlal Nehru University were honored with the medical sciences prize. Dutt’s work in lung cancer mutations in Indian patients has tremendous potential in the clinics, Gaur’s research on malaria infections has made inroads in our understanding of how the parasite infects red blood cells.

As climate change accelerates, studies on the state of the Earth’s atmosphere and the oceans have become increasingly relevant. Dr. S. Suresh Babu Vikram of the Sarabhai Space Centre thus received the Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences prize for studying black carbon aerosols and their impact on the stability of the atmosphere.

No awards were given out in the mathematical sciences category this year.

Each winner will receive five lakh, or the equivalent of approximately US$7,500.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Shutterstock.
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Jeremy received his PhD from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where he studied the role of the tumor microenvironment in cancer progression.

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