This Article is From Apr 22, 2012

UK honour for top Indian-origin scientists

UK honour for top Indian-origin scientists
London: The designer of the Large Hadron Collider, a Bangalore-based biologist and a mathematician described as "extremely original" is among six Indian-origin scientists elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society for 2012.

The society, which was founded in 1660 to recognise, promote and support excellence in science, has over the years awarded the Fellowship to nearly 1,500 individuals, including Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton and Tim Berners-Lee.

The Fellows, elected for life, include more than 80 Nobel laureates.

The six Indian-origin scientists are among 44 experts elected for 2012 and include Tejinder Singh Virdee, Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, who is distinguished for the design, construction and exploitation of the huge CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.

Virdee originated the concept of CMS with four colleagues around 1990 and there are now over 3000 participants from 38 countries.

He devised a new technology for the large CMS electromagnetic calorimeter and one of his earlier innovations was employed for the hadron calorimeter.

Banglaore-based Professor Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, Director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, is described as an "inspirational leader successfully promoting excellence in Indian biology."

An outstanding developmental geneticist, his contributions to understanding the cellular and molecular principles of adult muscle development in Drosophila are widely recognised, the Royal Society (RS) said and added that he has "elegantly" combined these studies with those on the development of the nervous system to study the control and development of movement.

Professor Chandrashekhar Bhalchandra Khare, who is based at the University of California, Los Angeles, is described as "an extremely original mathematician" studying the relationship between Galois representations and modular forms.

The RS said: "His forte is finding ingenious but relatively simple new ideas. Most spectacularly he and Wintenberger proved Serre's conjecture on the modularity of mod p Galois representations, a conjecture that was widely considered completely out of reach even after Wiles' work on Fermat's Last Theorem. This conjecture in particular implies the modularity of all odd rank two motives over the rationals."

Professor Mathukumalli Vidyasagar of the University of Texas at Dallas has been elected to the Fellowship for making "outstanding contributions" to control and systems theory and statistical learning.

His solution for maximally robust controllers has had a profound impact on linear control theory, the RS said.

The RS added: "He developed the feedback linearization approach to nonlinear control, and provided a general separation principle for nonlinear control, and provided a general separation principle for nonlinear systems.

"His notion of inverse dynamics feedback converted highly nonlinear equations describing robot motion into decoupled linear equations, and he extended the theory of rigid robots to flexible robots.

"He has combined probability theory, combinatorics, and artificial intelligence to produce a beautiful unified theory of statistical learning, and used it to solve NP-hard design problems."

Based at the University of Cambridge, Professor Shankar Balasubramanian is an internationally recognised leader in the field of nucleic acids who is distinguished for pioneering contributions to chemistry and its application to the biological and medical sciences.

He is a principal inventor of the leading next generation sequencing methodology, Solexa  sequencing, that has made routine, accurate, low-cost sequencing of human genomes a reality and has revolutionised biology.

Professor Varinder Kumar Aggarwal of the University of Bristol is distinguished for his "outstanding contributions" to the field of asymmetric synthesis, particularly applications of ylide chemistry where he is the world leader.

The RS said: "The important new methodology he has developed has been complemented by detailed mechanistic studies which have brought about improved understanding of many fundamental reactions.

"His innovative approach is highlighted by the unusual but highly effective reactions of sulphur ylides with boranes, an area that has much scope for future development. His productivity and breadth make him one of the foremost organic chemists of his generation and one who is very widely recognised internationally."

The Fellowship is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth.

Fellows are elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of excellence in science.