US Academy fellowship for Ratan Tata, two NRIs

Last Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010 - 09:50

Houston: One of the country`s leading industrialist and two Indian American researchers have been elected as members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ratan Tata noted philanthropist and chairman of major Tata companies is among 18 foreign honorary members joining the academy.

One of two Indian Americans honorees Dr Deepak Srivastava is the director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Wilma and Adeline Pirag Distinguished Professor in Pediatric Developmental Cardiology at the University of
California at San Francisco.

Another member Madhu Sudan, Fujitsu Professor in MIT`s electrical engineering and computer science department, is currently on leave from MIT, serving as a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which this year celebrates the 230th anniversary of its founding by John Adams and others honours individuals in the sciences, arts, social sciences, humanities, business and public affairs.

Among 229 new members elected in 2010 are CNN chief correspondent Christiane Amanpour, astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, Microsoft chief architect Ray Ozzie, genetics professor Timothy Ley, UCLA chancellor Gene Block, IBM chairman Samuel
Palmisano, film directors Francis Ford Coppola and Mike Leigh, actors John Lithgow and Denzel Washington, and comedian Steve Martin.

"We are pleased to welcome these distinguished individuals into the academy and look forward to drawing on their knowledge and expertise to provide practical policy
solutions to the pressing issues of the day," Leslie Berlowitz chief executive officer of the Academy said.

The new class will be inducted at the Academy`s headquarters on October 9 in Cambridge, Mass.

The membership includes over 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Srivastava was honoured for his work in understanding the causes of congenital heart disease and for heading Gladstone`s stem cell research program.

"In addition to his leading-edge research, Srivastava has been very involved in the broader societal issues that impact the progress of science," Gladstone president R Sanders Williams said in a statement.

Srivastava`s laboratory focuses on understanding the causes of heart disease and using knowledge of cardiac developmental pathways to devise novel therapeutics for human
cardiac disorders.

The lab concentrates on the study of molecular events regulating early and late developmental decisions that instruct progenitor cells to adopt a cardiac cell fate and
subsequently fashion a functioning heart.

Sudan, who has a PhD from U C- Berkeley and a B Tech in computer science from IIT-Delhi, joined Microsoft Research in May 2009 after stints in IBM Research and MIT, where he was associate director of MIT`s Computer Science and Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory.

His research is mainly in the fields of computational complexity theory, algorithms and coding theory.

He is best known for his works on probabilistic checking of proofs and on the design of list-decoding algorithms for error-correcting codes.

His current research interests include semantic communication and property testing.
In 2002, Sudan was awarded the Nevanlinna Prize, for outstanding contributions to the mathematics of computer science, at the International Congress of Mathematicians in
Beijing.

"The men and women we elect today are true pathbreakers who have made unique contributions to their fields, and to the world," said Academy Chair Louis W Cabot.
Since its founding by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, the Academy has elected leading "thinkers and doers" from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth.

PTI



First Published: Friday, April 30, 2010 - 09:50

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