IIT Professor bags award for Mathematics

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Bangalore, Sep 15 (UNI) Dr Mahindra Agarwal, an IIT Kanpur Professor, has bagged the first Infosys Prize for Mathematics, instituted jointly by the Infosys and National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS).

Speaking after the announcement, Infosys Chairman N R Narayana Murthy here today said Infosys believed in strong industry-academia partnership for advancement of academic research.

Dr Agarwal has been honoured for his research in Complexity Theory.

The award was instituted to encourage and foster an interest in mathematics and give a fillip to education and research of basic sciences. It carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh and a medal.

The prize is awarded to a nominated candidate, who has made outstanding contributions, fundamental or applied, in any field of mathematics including the areas covering pure mathematics, mathematical foundations of computer science and applied mathematics in natural, life and social sciences ''This prize recognises contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to mathematical sciences. We hope that this award will reiterate importance of mathematics across different sciences and encourage students to cultivate an interest in the subject,'' Mr Murthy said.

He termed it an 'absolutely coincidence' that a Professor from IIT Kanpur, where he had studied his Masters in Engineering, got the first year's prize.

NIAS Director and former ISRO Chief K Kasturirangan said India had established programmes in strategic areas like Atomic Energy, Defence, Space, IT and Meteorology. A strong base in mathematics was fundamental for advancement of these areas.

''Significantly mathematics is increasingly finding applications in a number of new areas such as computer science, life science, social sciences and economics apart from traditional areas,'' he added.

He opined though India had produced renowned mathematicians and scientists, the quality and quantity of work in mathematics was far from satisfactory.

''Except for some islands like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, overall work in universities and other institutes is of poor quality. Much of the work has been a derivative of work done elsewhere, and the international impact of work done here has been very low,'' he said and added it was unfortunate that current level of research as well as teaching in mathematics in colleges and universities across the country was poor and much below expected standards.

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