The INSA Medal for Young Scientists for 2014 were given out last May and Bengali scientists formed a significant clutch of achievers, 10 out of 30 or one-third, to be precise. Bengali scientists have always formed a not insignificant group among the awardees, and this year it’s on the higher side.
These awards are popularly known as Junior Bhatnagar awards, after the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, the most coveted award in multidisciplinary science in India, which are given annually by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar was a famous scientist who is revered as
the ‘father of research laboratories’ in India. Among other things, he
was the first director-general of the Council of Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) and the first chairman of the University
Grants Commission (UGC).
Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar
Indian National Science Academy (INSA) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Science and Technology that promotes research among scientists below the age of 35 years. Scientists who receive the INSA Medal or Junior Bhatnagar award get included in the top bracket and in future, their research gets a lot of patronage.
Thirty scientists are selected by a selection committee of INSA for the award each year. Each awardee is given a medal made of bronze, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. The recipients may also be considered for seed money to support their research.
The bronze medal is 6.35 cm in diameter and weighs about 114 g. The obverse side of the medal has the name of the award and the awardee in Devnagari script as well as the year of award, while the reverse side depicts the seal of INSA.
All the scientists do not necessarily work in India now, but the work for which they have been recognised was done in India. Any Indian citizen who has not attained the age of 35 years on December 31 of the previous year is eligible for the award. The awards have been given since 1974.
The INSA logo
The Bengali awardees in 2014
Dr Suryasarathi Bose: PhD, Department of Materials Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
WHY: Contributions in the processing of nanoparticles dispersed by conducting copolymer composites
Dr Suryasarathi Bose
Dr Sayan Chakraborti: PhD, Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University, USA
WHY: Significant contribution leading to the uncovering of a new class of mildly relativistic supernovae which straddle the gap between ordinary supernovae and ultra-relativistic gamma ray bursts
Dr Sayan Chakraborti
Dr Abhijit Chatterjee: PhD, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai
WHY: Notable contributions in material informatics in energy systems and catalytic reactions
Dr Abhijit Chatterjee
Dr Soumya Das: PhD, Department of Mathematics, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
WHY: Impressive contributions to the study of Fourier coefficients of modular forms. His most important work characterises cusp forms in terms of the growth of their Fourier coefficients.
Dr Soumya Das
Dr June Ghosh: PhD, CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology Division, Kolkata
WHY: Valuable contributions in the field of leishmaniasis and in revealing the understanding of molecular pathogenesis
Dr Sukanta Jash: PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Richard B Simches Research Center (at Massachusetts General Hospital), Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, USA.
WHY: Notable contribution in modulation of mitochondrial function by RNA delivery
Dr Sukanta Jash
Dr Debabrata Maiti: PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai
WHY: Outstanding contribution in metal-mediated organic transformation
Dr Debabrata Maiti
Dr Animesh Mukherjee: PhD, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
WHY: Significant contributions in language dynamics in cognition and perception
Dr Animesh Mukherjee
Dr Santanu Mukherjee: PhD, Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
WHY: Outstanding contribution in organocatalytic approach to control stereochemistry at the quaternary centres.
Dr Santanu Mukherjee
Dr Mithun Palit: PhD, Scientist ‘D’, Advanced Magnetics Group, Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Kanchan Bagh, Hyderabad
WHY: Working towards a comprehensive understanding of solidification, texture and phase transformations, and magenetostrictive properties of Tb-Dy-Fe and Fe-Ga alloys. His work covers both theoretical as well as experimental investigation. These fundamental studies have culminated in a practical transducer device.
Dr Mithun Palit