The new batch of 171 Guggenheim Fellows has 6 Indian American professors


The new batch of 171 Guggenheim Fellows has 6 Indian American professors

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Prineha Narang (Physics), Anima Anandkumar and Venkatesan Guruswami, (Computer Science); Abraham Verghese (General Nonfiction); Projit Bihari Mukharji (History of Science, Technology, & Economics); and Leela Prasad (South & Southeast Asian Studies) are amongst the diverse group of 171 Guggenheim Fellows of 2023 the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced this week.

This year’s Fellows were “chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2,500 applicants based on prior achievement and exceptional promise,” the foundation said. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation offers fellowships to exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation in any art form, under the freest possible conditions.

According to Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation, “the new class of Fellows has followed the calling to enhance all of our lives, to provide greater human knowledge and deeper understanding. We’re lucky to look to them to bring us into the future.”

Professor Prineha Narang is a renowned physicist and materials scientist, known for her ground-breaking work in the field of nanomaterials and their applications in energy and information technologies. Born in India, Narang grew up in several different countries, including Canada, US and UK.  Narang received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Toronto in 2007, where she was awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Medal for her academic achievements. She then pursued her graduate studies at Harvard University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 2012. She has organized numerous workshops and outreach events aimed at engaging young people, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities, in science and technology.

Anima Anandkumar is the Bren Professor of Computing at the California Institute of Technology. She is a director of Machine Learning Research at NVIDIA, a multinational technology company based in Santa Clara, California. She received her B.Tech from IIT, Madras and Ph.D. from Cornell University. She did her postdoctoral research at MIT and an assistant professorship at the University of California Irvine. She has received several honors such as the IEEE fellowship, Alfred. P. Sloan Fellowship, NSF Career Award, and Faculty Fellowships from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Adobe. She is part of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network. 

Venkatesan Guruswami is a Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of EECS, a senior scientist at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, and a Professor of Mathematics at UC Berkeley. He received his B Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his Ph D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Computer Science. He was a Miller Research Fellow at UC Berkeley during 2001-02 and previously held faculty positions in Computer Science at the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University before moving to his current position in January 2022. His research interests span many areas of theoretical computer science and related mathematics, including error correction, approximate optimization, randomness in computing, and computational complexity. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). 

Abraham Verghese is a professor and Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor, and vice chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He is also a best-selling author After graduation, he left India for a medical residency in the United States.  He took a break from medicine to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Soon, he took the position as professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Texas. Verghese wrote about fighting the AIDS epidemic in his first book, ‘My Own Country,’ published in 1994 which garnered to critical acclaim. His other books include ‘The Covenant of Water’, ‘Cutting for Stone’, and ‘The Tennis Partner’.

Projit Bihari Mukharji, a professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, is working on history of human differences and race in 20th-century South Asia. He has authored two monographs — ‘Nationalizing the Body: The Medical Market, Print and Daktari Medicine (London, 2009) and “Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies and Braided Sciences’ (Chicago, 2016) — alongside numerous journal articles and three co-edited volumes.

Leela Prasad, a professor of religious studies, and gender, sexuality and feminist studies at Duke University, has a PhD. in Folklore & Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, and two masters in English from the University of Hyderabad and also from Kansas State University. She was elected vice president of the American Academy of Religion in November 2022. She will become its President-Elect in 2023, and President in 2024. She is the author of 2 books – ‘Poetics of Conduct’ which won the American Academy of Religion’s prize for “Best First Book in History of Religions.” And her second book, “The Audacious Raconteur” was published in 2020.

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