Royal Society of London inducts Indo-American mathematician in Princeton, others

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The Royal London Society for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge announced on April 16 that 51 “eminent scientists,” including an Indian-American mathematician from Princeton, Manjul Bhargava, became members or foreign members of the Royal Society, for their “exceptional” contributions to science.

Manjul Bhargava, Brandon Fradd of Princeton, class of 1983, professor of mathematics and recipient of the Fields Medal, (Photo Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications, Princeton University (princeton.edu))

Bhargava, Brandon Fradd of Princeton, class of 1983, professor of mathematics and recipient of the Fields Medal, is internationally recognized as one of today’s greatest mathematicians.

He is a leading expert in number theory, a branch of mathematics in which he has made several pioneering breakthroughs. His research includes fundamental contributions to arithmetic statistics and the theory of forms of quadratic and higher degrees, number fields, groups of classes, and rows of elliptical curves. Bhargava is also well known for his contributions to the popularization of mathematics and held the First Distinguished Chair for Public Dissemination of Mathematics at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York.

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Besides Bhargava, another Indian-American and a South Asian in America have been inducted into the Royal Society are Professor Akkihebbal Ravishankara ForMemRS, University Professor Emeritus, Departments of Chemistry and Atmospheric Sciences, Colorado State University; and of Sri Lankan origin Professor Kumar Wickramasinghe FRS, Distinguished Professor and Nicolaos G and Sue Curtis Alexopoulos Presidential Chair, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California, Irvine.

Colorado State University Professor AR Ravishankara. (Photo, colostate.edu)

Prior to joining the State of Colorado, Dr. Ravishankara worked in the Division of Chemical Sciences (CSD) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (CSD) at the Earth System Research Laboratory for nearly 30 years in Boulder, CO. There he was director of the CSD from 2006 to 2014, and was a senior scientist prior to the post of director. Before joining NOAA, he was at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Dr Ravishankara has worked for the past three and a half decades on the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere as it relates to stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change and regional air quality.

Dr. Ravishankara’s many awards include the Polanyi Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the American Chemical Society Award. for creative advances in environmental science, according to his biography on the University’s website. He is currently Co-Chair of the WMO / UNEP Stratospheric Ozone Scientific Assessment Panel and a member of the UNEP Climate Clean Air Coalition Scientific Advisory Group, and serves on numerous boards.

Professor Wickramasinghe received his BS and PhD in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from King’s College London and University College London, respectively. He worked at IBM for many years and has over 100 patents to his name. He is a pioneer of nanotechnology research and innovation, having developed technologies such as Vibrating Mode Atomic Force Microscope, Magnetic Force Microscope, Electrostatic Force Microscope, Kelvin Probe Force Microscope, the thermal scanning microscope and the near-field optical microscope without aperture.

Other inductees of Indian descent include Professor Gurdyal Besra FMedSci FRS, on Bardrick Professor of Microbial Physiology and Chemistry, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK; Professor Gagandeep Kang FRS, Managing Director of Translational Institute of Health Sciences and Technologies, India; Professor Anant Parekh FRS, Professor of Physiology, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, UK; Professor Akshay Venkatesh FRS, Professor, School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study, United Kingdom.

All those selected will be officially admitted as members of the Royal Society in a ceremony on July 12, when they will sign the charter book in London. All Fellows are elected for life and distinguished alumni include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking.

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