When we read a book or watch a movie, our brain processes the sensory input and uses pre-acquired background knowledge to enrich our understanding of the content. Such background knowledge is normally not available for computers, which limits their ability for automated tasks such as translation of a document from one language to another. According to Dr. Partha Pratim Talukdar of Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, such knowledge can be found from the ever-growing textual content on the Internet.
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Prof. Vasudevan's research focuses on studies of 'Guest molecules in Layered and Porous Solids '. More specifically he looks at the physical chemistry aspect of layered, porous and nano-structured host lattices integrated with interesting guest molecules. Such an integration of guest molecule with a layered material leads to novel phenomena and interesting new materials. He studies the interaction and change in properties between host and guest molecules experimentally by using spectroscopic and microscopic studies. Theoretically he does molecular dynamic simulation to help in better understanding of the system. "His research is characterized by rich diversity both in terms of the materials he makes, the studies he carries out, and the applications he targets", says Prof. A. G. Samuelson, one of his peers at the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, IISc.
The current age is called the “Information Age”. People want “information” on their fingertips. Information here may mean a variety of things: mails and messages, news, financial transactions, railway bookings and more. Some people may also need more specialized or personalized forms of information. However, in a developing country like India, not everyone can afford a personal computer with internet access. On the other hand, India has also seen a remarkable proliferation of mobile phones across much of the society, and across most age groups. The new generation of such phones, called smartphones, not only provide regular internet access, but also a platform for users to create new programs (popularly called “App”s) for specialized and personalized services. Dr. Aditya Kanade, Scientist and Assistant Professor of Computer Science in Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is working on the design and implementation issues of smartphone apps. In his words, the widespread adoption of smartphones is a step at democratizing information access.
Balasubramanian Ananthanarayan, a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science and Chairman of the Centre for High Energy Physics, is one of the most prominent researchers in the field of elementary particle physics and field theory. He is currently working on improving the predictions of low energy and developing an effective theory of the standard model, and also on searches for physics beyond the standard model.
Prof. Giridhar Madras, a Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is an expert in the field of reaction kinetics.
His group in IISc works on reaction kinetics, the study of rates of chemical reactions in various systems and processes. Reactions between chemical compounds are dependent on a variety of environmental factors as well as active participants of the reactions. This area of study involves varying some of these parameters while keeping others constant in order to gauge their influence on the speed of reactions. This is especially useful in trying to find the rates at which plastics degrade and how they can be made to degrade faster to save the environment. “I primarily study reactions at normal pressures, at high pressures (supercritical fluids), at high temperatures (catalytic reactions for energy and environmental applications) and between large molecules (polymers),” he explains.
A key contributor to this advancing field is Dr. Santanu Mukherjee, an Assistant Professor in the Organic Chemistry Department of Indian Institute of Science. Dr. Mukherjee studies chiral compounds ― molecules with same composition that appear as mirror images in their arrangement of atoms. His research focuses on developing new methods in hydrogen bonding catalysis to generate compounds that are structurally pure (only one of two possible mirror-image forms).
Prof. Ghosh has studied and worked at prestigious research institutes in India and abroad. In 1989, he obtained his doctorate from IISc under a joint fellowship from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). After his Ph.D., he worked for a year as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin, U.S.A. Following this, he joined the University of Twente in The Netherlands as a Scientific Research Fellow of the Systems and Control Group. In 1991, he returned to the U.S.A. as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was later appointed as an Assistant Professor at IISc in 1992, promoted to Associate Professor in 1998 and then to Professor in 2004.
Dr. Saptarshi Basu, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is an eminent researcher in the area of experimental thermal and fluid sciences. He has vast experience in various optical diagnostics techniques, such as laser-induced fluorescence, Rayleigh scattering and laser induced incandescence. His research focuses on the fundamental understanding of transport processes (mass, momentum, energy and species).
“I love mathematics of every description,” says Dr. Gautam Bharali, one of this year’s eleven recipients of the prestigious Swarnajayanti Fellowship awarded by the Department of Science and Technology on behalf of the Government of India for reasons of outstanding contribution to scientific research. An Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Dr. Bharali specialises in the field of Several Complex Variables (SCV). Six years before receiving the Swarnajayanti Fellowship, he was also felicitated with a Young Scientist Medal by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA).
This year’s Infosys Prize in the Engineering and Computer Science category has gone to Jayant Haritsa, a computer scientist who has made highly creative strides in the design of such database engines. He is a Senior Professor at the Supercomputer Education & Research Center and the Chair of the Department of Computer Science & Automation, Indian Institute of Science.