6 Indian-origin scientists elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society for 2012
Royal Society (RS):
Founded in 1660 to recognise, promote and support excellence in science, has over the years awarded the Fellowship to nearly approximately 1,450 individuals, including Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton and Tim Berners-Lee. 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. There are approximately 1,450 Fellows and Foreign Members, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates.
The 6 Indian-origin scientists are among 44 experts elected for 2012. They are:-
- Mr. Tejinder Singh Virdee, Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, Imperial College London
- Mr. Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, Senior Professor and Director, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore
- Mr. Chandrashekhar Bhalchandra Khare, Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles
- Mr. Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, Cecil H. & Ida Green Chair, The University of Texas at Dallas
- Mr. Shankar Balasubramanian, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge and Senior Group Leader, Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Research Institute
- Mr. Varinder Kumar Aggarwal, Professor of Synthetic Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
About the Scientists and their works:
Professor Tejinder Singh Virdee:
Tejinder Virdee is primarily distinguished for the design, construction and exploitation of the huge CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. He originated the concept of CMS with four colleagues around 1990 and there are now over 3000 participants from 38 countries. The motivation is the discovery of the mass generating mechanism for matter, currently considered to be the Higgs mechanism, and the nature of what lies beyond the Standard Model. Virdee devised a new technology for the large CMS electromagnetic calorimeter and one of his earlier innovations was employed for the hadron calorimeter. He was leader of the collaboration during final commissioning and first data taking between 2006 and 2010 and now concentrates on the search for the Higgs boson. The superb performance of CMS since high energy collisions began at the LHC is testimony to his foresight, expertise and appreciation of the complex interplay of techniques which are needed for such success.
Professor Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan
Vijayraghavan is an inspirational leader successfully promoting excellence in Indian biology. Growing under his inclusive leadership, the National Centre for Biological Sciences is recognized internationally as a world-class institution. He has been an exemplary mentor, forging partnerships to grow life sciences research. He has worked to establish new institutions, drawing the best young scientists to India. An outstanding developmental geneticist, his contributions to understanding the cellular and molecular principles of adult muscle development in Drosophila are widely recognized. He has elegantly combined these studies with those on the development of the nervous system to study the control and development of movement.
Chandrashekhar Bhalchandra Khare:
Shekhar Khare is an extremely original mathematician studying the relationship between Galois representations and modular forms. 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:
Vidyasagar has made 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. He developed the feedback linearization approach to nonlinear control, and provided a general separation principle for nonlinear control. 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.
Professor Shankar Balasubramanian:
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. He has made seminal contributions to the identification, elucidation and manipulation of non-coding genetic elements, particularly four-stranded structures called G-quadruplexes. His work on the intervention of nucleic acid function using small molecules has revealed a number of molecular mechanisms that can be exploited, e.g. to modulate the biology of cancer.
Professor Varinder Kumar Aggarwal:
Aggarwal is distinguished for his outstanding contributions to the field of asymmetric synthesis, particularly applications of ylide chemistry where he is the world leader. 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.