Several Indian-Americans among 2022 Guggenheim Fellows

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The New York-based John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation on April 7, 2022, announced its list of Guggenheim Fellowship recipients, a diverse group of 180 ‘exceptional individuals’, several of them of Indian origin, from a pool of some 2,500 submissions, based on their ‘prior achievement and exceptional promise’, a press release from the organization said. (See the list of new Fellows at gf.org/announcements/). This is the 97th class of the prestigious Fellowships.

The six Indian-origin Fellows for 2022 in various fields include:

Prashant K. Jain. Photo: nanolab.org

Chemistry – Prashant K. Jain, professor of Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – (https://www.nanogold.org/). Originally from Bombay, Jain graduated from Institute of Chemical Technology, and went on to study at Georgia Tech. He then moved to Harvard as the first postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Adam E. Cohen. He then moved to UC Berkeley. In all his appointments, Jain developed new aspects of nanotechnology, including the now well-known scaling rules for nanoscale electromagnetic interactions. He now directs a research lab on nanoscale light-matter interactions at UIUC, best known for using concentrated photons for artificial photosynthesis. He is a member of the IDA/DARPA Defense Science Study Group, among other scientific endeavors.

Shrikanth Narayanan. Photo: usc.edu
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Computer Science – Shrikanth Narayanan, University Professor and Nikias Chair in Engineering, University of Southern California.  https://sail.usc.edu/people/shri.html. A bachelor of engineering from the College of Engineering Guindy, Chennai, Narayanan’s research and inventions have led to technology commercialization including through startups he co-founded: Behavioral Signals Technologies focused on the telecommunication services and AI based conversational assistance industry and Lyssn focused on mental health care delivery, treatment and quality assurance.  He has received numerous awards, holds 18 patents, and held various multidisciplinary positions during his career –
Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Computer Science,
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Professor of Linguistics, Psychology and Neuroscience,
USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Professor of Pediatrics, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Keck School of Medicine of USC

Director, Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL)
Director, Ming Hsieh Institute (MHI)
Research Director, Information Sciences Institute, (ISI)

Manjul Bhargava. Photo: math.princeton.edu

Mathematics – Manjul Bhargava, Brandon Fradd, Class of 1983, Professor of Mathematics, Princeton University. Bhargava joined the Princeton faculty in 2003 and is a 2001 graduate alumnus. His research focuses on number theory, the study of whole numbers and their relationship to each other, the university profile says. Born in Canada, Bhargava has already won the Fields Medal which is considered the Nobel in Mathematics, in 2014, and the Fermat Prize before that in 2011. In 2005, he won the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize (shared with Kannan Soundararajan). In 2018, he was the first to be named The Distinguished Chair for the Public Dissemination of Mathematics at The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath). In 2019, he received a Fellowship at the Royal Society. .

Suparna Rajaram. Photo: courtesy Suparna Rajaram

Psychology – Suparna Rajaram, Distinguished Professor in Cognitive Science, Stony Brook University, SUNY.  https://rajarammemorylab.com/suparna-rajaram/.

Rajaram is a graduate of Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, with a masters degree from Bangalore University, and a national merit Scholar of India. She went on to Purdue University for a M.S. in Cognitive Psychology. She has a Ph.D. from Rice University and completed her post-doctoral work in Cognitive Neuroscience at Temple University School of Medicine. At Stony Brook since 1993, Rajaram’s lab conducts research on human learning and memory with a focus on social aspects of memory.

She has received numerous awards including from the national Institutes of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, etc. She has been the President of the Association for Psychological Science, and served in several capacities at the Psychonomic Society. Rajaram is the founder of Women in Cognitive Science, an international group.

Jyoti Puri. Photo:simmons.edu

Sociology – Jyoti Puri, Hazel Dick Leonard Chair and Profesor of Sociology, Simmons University in Boston.

Puri writes and teaches at the crossroads of sociology, sexuality studies, death studies, and postcolonial feminist theory, her profile on the Simmons U website says. Her most recent book, Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle against the Antisodomy Law in India’s Present, was published by Duke University Press (2016). It received the Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association in 2018. Her previous books include, Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India (Routledge 1999) and Encountering Nationalism, (Blackwell Publishers 2004).

The biography shows Puri served on the editorial collective for the interdisciplinary journal Foucault Studies, as deputy editor for the journal, Gender & Society, and is currently on the editorial board for the journal, SIGNS. She has served in various capacities at the American Sociological Association, including as Chair of the Section on Sex and Gender, and Sociologists for Women in Society.

She is the recipient of fellowships and grants, including a Rockefeller Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Research award. In 2019-2020, she was a Research Associate at the Women’s Studies Program in Religion at Harvard Divinity School.

Manisha Sinha. Photo: uconn.edu

United States History – Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut. https://manishasinha.com/.

Sinha is considered a leading authority on the history of slavery and abolition and the Civil War and Reconstruction, according to her eponymous website. Born in India, she received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She is the author of award-winning books including The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina; a monograph, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition which was long listed for the National Book Award for Non  Fiction.

She has received numerous fellowships, including one from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and two from the Mellon Foundation. Professor Sinha is the Eighth recipient of the James W.C. Pennington Award in 2021 from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. In 2018, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris, Diderot and was elected to the Society of American Historians.

She is a member of the Board of the Society of Civil War Historians and of the Council of Advisors of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg, New York Public Library. She taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for more than twenty years, where she was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal.

Currently, Sinha is writing a book on the “greater reconstruction” of American democracy after the Civil War.

Since its establishment, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors, the press release from the Foundation, says.

 

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