Indian American finalist for 2019 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

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Dr. Subhash Khot. Photo courtesy of the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences have announced finalists of the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

Thirty-one of the nation’s rising stars in science, including two Indians Americans, will compete for three Blavatnik National Laureate Awards in the categories of Chemistry, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Life Sciences. Each of the three 2019 National Laureates will win $250,000—the world’s largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists.

An Indian American computer scientist, Dr. Subhash Khot, from New York University, is a finalist in the Physical Sciences & Engineering category.

Now in its 13th year, the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists recognize the past accomplishments and the future promise of the most-talented faculty-rank scientists and engineers aged 42 years and younger at America’s top academic and research institutions, according to a press release.

This year, the Blavatnik National Awards received an unprecedented 343 nominations from 169 academic and research centers across 44 states – a record in all three categories. The three 2019 National Laureates, chosen from the 31 finalists, will be announced June 26.

Blavatnik Scholars are advancing the human condition through scientific progress. This year’s finalists have made cutting-edge discoveries that include new findings on the inner-workings of the microbiome, cells, DNA, RNA and viruses; creating new classes of materials through inventions in materials science and nanoscience; identifying predictors for improving crop yields; new chemical imaging and synthesis techniques; novel 2D and 3D polymer design and other radical advances that can impact energy storage, water purification and next generation electronics.

“The goal of the Awards is to help solve the world’s greatest scientific and technological challenges by supporting outstanding young scientists and engineers,” said Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and member of the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences.  “Acknowledging, encouraging and funding stellar scientists early in their careers provides them with the confidence and freedom to channel their energy and creativity into ground-breaking discoveries that benefit society as a whole.”

Ellis Rubinstein, president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences and chair of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council, said, “The 2019 Blavatnik National Awards Finalists are part of a growing global community of inventive thinkers and rare problem-solvers that will help define the future. These 31 Finalists are a diverse group of scientists and engineers who are paving the way for new methodologies and ideas that will impact the world on a macro and micro scale. From preserving endangered animal species and reducing our carbon footprint to designing new sustainable materials and therapeutics, their research is forward-thinking and groundbreaking.”

The 2019 Blavatnik National Laureates and Finalists will be honored at the Blavatnik National Awards ceremony on Monday, September 23, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in the United States in 2007 and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, began by identifying outstanding regional scientific talent in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Blavatnik National Awards were launched in 2014 and, in 2017, the Awards were expanded to young scientists in the United Kingdom and Israel. By the close of 2019, the Blavatnik Awards will have conferred prizes totaling over $8.4 million to 285 outstanding young scientists and engineers from more than 44 countries, representing 35 scientific and engineering disciplines.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of world-renowned educational, scientific, cultural and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, a global industrialist and philanthropist and the founder and chairman of Access Industries, a privately held U.S. industrial group with global strategic interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, real estate, and venture capital.

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide.  With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity.

Dr. Subhash Khot is a computer scientist whose research addresses deep questions in the theory of computation and bridges the field of computer science with the field of mathematics, in particular combinatorics, analysis, and geometry.  His Unique Games Conjecture, has bridged a wide gap between the development of efficient algorithms and the inherent complexity of problems these algorithms aim to solve. More generally, theory of computation is now extending its reach into many fields of natural and social sciences, e.g. physics, biology, economics, and sociology, in addition to areas within computer science and mathematics.

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