Two world-renowned Mathematicians of Indian origin from the US and Canada are among the 106 recipients of the prestigious Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian honors of the country, according to the Government of India, announced on the eve of India’s 74th Republic Day.
Indian-American S.R. Srinivasa Varadhan has been chosen to be honored with the Padma Vibhushan and Indo-Canadian Sujatha Ramdorai will be conferred with the Padmi Shri for their stellar contributions in the field of science and engineering.
Born in Chennai on January 2, 1940, Srinivasa Varadhan is known for his fundamental contributions to probability theory. The Mathematics professor was awarded the 2007 Abel Prize by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters “for his fundamental contributions to probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large deviations”.
Armed with a master’s degree (1960) from the University of Madras, Varadhan earned his doctorate (1963) from the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta. In 1963, Varadhan came from India as a postdoctoral fellow to the Courant Institute in New York and never left. He is currently Professor of Mathematics and Frank J Gould Professor of Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
He was awarded the Birkhoff Prize (1994), the Margaret and Herman Sokol Award of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University (1995), and the Leroy Steele Prize (1996). In 2008, the Indian government awarded him the Padma Bhushan.
Associated with the University of British Columbia, Canada, Sujatha Ramdorai is an algebraic number theorist known for her work on the Iwasawa theory. She is the first Indian to win the prestigious International Centre for Theoretical Physics Ramanujan Prize in 2006 and also a winner of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 2004.
She is also the recipient of the 2020 Krieger-Nelson Prize for her exceptional contributions to mathematics research. Having served at the National Knowledge Commission from 2007-2009, Ramdorai is currently a Member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India and a Member of the National Innovation Council.
She completed her B.Sc. in 1982 from St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru, and then got her MSc from Annamalai University in 1985. Ramdorai did her Ph.D in the area of Quadratic forms over function fields and Witt rings of varieties from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
The Padma Awards are conferred by the President of India usually around March/April every year. This year, a total of 106 Padma awards will be conferred to personalities across varied disciplines.
The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service).