Monday, September 29, 2008

S.S. Bhatnagar Prizes - 2008

I have called these prizes the Oscars of Indian Science; they are arguably the highest honours -- they are certainly the most prestigious -- in India for its scientists under 45. This year's list is here. A Hindu report is here. [And, in case you are interested, here are the posts about previous years' SSB Prizes: 2007, 2006 and 2005 and 2004].

It's great to see a couple of our friends among this year's winners: Prof. P.N. Vinayachandran, a neighbour of ours at IISc faculty quarters, is with Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Prof. Srikanth Sastry is with Theoretical Sciences Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) [I had an opportunity to mention Srikanth's work sometime ago].

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Here's what I wrote in 2006 about the way CSIR handles the SSB Prize announcements:

I have to fault the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the organization that awards these Prizes, for giving just the barest of details about the [Prize winners]. Is it so difficult to put together a news story that has details about each awardee’s important contributions? Wouldn’t it be nice — offering a higher profile for the Prize winners, and more information for the others — if full citations are available on the CSIR website? Currently, all that it offers is this press release [pdf] which deserves a prize for minimalism.

This year's announcement is no better. The contrast with other similarly prestigious Prizes -- such as the MacArthur Awards, or the Infosys Mathematics Prize -- cannot be more stark.