On 26th September, during the 80th foundation day of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the names of 11 scientists were announced for the highest science award Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for science and technology, 2021.
The prize is given to Indian scientists who are below 45 years. They are given the prize for outstanding research in seven fields—Biology, Chemistry, Environment Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine and Physics.
Names of the scientists and their respective departments
For Biological Sciences- Dr Amit Singh, department of microbiology and cell biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and Dr Arun Kumar Shukla, department of biological sciences and bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, were awarded.
During the PHD, Singh worked on deciphering the role of genes involved in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) pathogenesis. Shukla is an Indian structural biologist (cell scientist), who has been working at IIT Kanpur since 2014.
In chemical sciences, two researchers from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru, Dr Kanishka Biswas from the International Centre of Materials Science and Dr T Govindaraju, from the Bio-organic Chemistry Laboratory, announced as recipients.
While Biswas’ research field includes thermoelectric materials and devices that utilize the waste heat to generate electricity, Govindaraju’s work focuses on chemical biology and is engaged in solving problems related to health and human society.
Under the engineering sciences category, Debdeep Mukhopadhyay, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, IIT Kharagpur received the award. He initiated the Secured Embedded Architecture Laboratory (SEAL), with a focus on embedded security and side-channel attacks.
In the mathematical sciences category, Dr Anish Ghosh, school of mathematics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, and Dr Saket Saurabh, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, were announced winners. Ghosh works at the interface of ergodic theory, Lie groups, and number theory.
For the medical science, the prize was received by Dr Jeemon Panniyammakal, Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, and Dr Rohit Srivastava, department of biosciences and bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
Panniyammakal is a trained epidemiologist with at least a decade of experience in observational epidemiological studies and clinical trials, and Srivastava’s research interest includes fluorescent biosensors, nanoengineered sensors, and photothermal therapy for breast cancer.
For physical sciences, Dr Kanak Saha, from Pune’s Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, received the award. Saha’s primary research is focused on galaxies: their structure, formation and evolution.
Assam Scientist Dr. Binoy Kumar also in the list
For Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Dr Binoy Kumar Saikia from Coal and Energy Research Group, CSIR North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat, was named recipient. It is one of the excellent research groups working in the area of coal sciences and technology and energy-environment interface in India and abroad.
Vice president in the award ceremony
During the award ceremony, vice president M Venkaiah Naid said, “In a country as vast and as diverse as ours, challenges are many and institutions like CSIR need to gear up to address any sudden and unexpected problem. Each laboratory of the CSIR must come out with a clear roadmap on the new research projects that seek to address various challenges and contribute to the larger good of humanity”.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh asks scientists not to restrict ambition
Jitendra Singh, the Union minister of state for science and technology, asked CSIR and all the science departments to explore science and technology innovations that are needed in the coming 10 years to make India globally competitive.
“We should not restrict our ambition to be best in India but be best in the world as India is blessed with the demographic dividend of youth and they can take up any challenge with the right training and motivation,” he said.