3 Indian-Americans named for top US science honours

via http://www.rediff.com/news/report/three-indian-americans-named-for-top-us-science-honours/20110928.htm?print=true published on September 30, 2011

Three Indian-Americans figured among the 12 scientists named by US President Barack Obama [ Images ] for the country’s top awards in the field of scientific research and innovation.

The Indian Americans are Srinivasa S R Varadhan from the New York University; Rakesh Agrawal from the Purdue University and B Jayant Baliga from the North Carolina State University.

While Vardhan has been named for the National Medal of Science, the other two scientists have been selected for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

These are the highest honours bestowed by the US government on scientists, engineers, and inventors.

“Each of these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors is guided by a passion for innovation, a fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge, and a desire to make the world a better place,” Obama said in a statement.

“Their ingenuity inspires us all to reach higher and try harder, no matter how difficult the challenges we face,” he said.

The recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year.

The White House said Varadhan has been selected for his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behaviour, which has revolutionised this field of study during the second half of the 20th century and become a cornerstone of both pure and applied probability.

The mathematical insights he developed have been applied in diverse fields including quantum field theory, population dynamics, finance, econometrics, and traffic  engineering, the White House said.

Rakesh Agrawal has been selected for an extraordinary record of innovations in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the cost of gas liquefaction and separation.

These innovations have had significant positive impacts on electronic device manufacturing, liquefied gas production, and the supply of industrial gases for diverse industries; the White House said.

Baliga has been selected by US President for development and commercialisation of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor and other power semiconductor devices that are extensively used in transportation, lighting, medicine, defense, and renewable energy generation systems; the White House said.

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation.

Awarded annually, the Medal recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering.

Nominees are selected by a committee of Presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, and the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the US Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office.

The award recognises those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce.

Nominees are selected by a distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors.

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