Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday presented the 2009 G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research to Manindra Agrawal, a computer science professor.
The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur teacher was honoured for cracking an algorithm problem that had remained unsolved for nearly 200 years.
“India is doing reasonably well in the field of science and technology,” Agrawal, 43, said while accepting the prestigious prize at a ceremony in Delhi’s Birla House on Monday.
The professor, however, struck a note of caution. “The time and juncture of history we are at, we cannot afford to just do reasonably well. We need to excel. For that, we needed more researchers and young scientists and above all support, like the G.D Birla Award.”
Scindia also gave away the 2008 G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research to Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science professor Raghavan Varadrajan for his work in the field of molecular science.
Hindi writer Devendra Raj Ankur was presented the 2008 Shankar Puraskar and Sanskrit litterateur Harinarayan Dikshit the 2008 Vachaspati Puraskar.
All the awards are instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation and carry a cash component of Rs 150,000.
Paying tribute to the late G.D. Birla and the late K.K. Birla, the minister said both men displayed the rare quality of “going beyond their usual fields of interests to promote the cause of scientific, literary and cultural advancements”.
Shankar Puraskar winner Ankur picked the prize for his landmark work, Rangmanch Ka Saundaryashashtra, while Dikshit was feted for his epic poem, Radhacharitam.