Three Indian-Americans Among Simons Foundation’s 16 Investigators For 2021

The Simons Foundation recently named its group of investigators for mathematics and physical sciences. There are three Indian-Americans among the 2021, 16-person cohort.  

The Indian-Americans are Surjeet Rajendran, L. Mahadevan and Amit Sahai. 

In 2004, Rajendran graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a degree in mathematics. He went on to pursue a PhD in physics from Stanford University and graduated in 2009. 

Rajendran was Leon Madansky postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the Henry Shenker Professor of Physics at U.C. Berkeley. He subsequently joined Johns Hopkins University as an associate professor. 

Harvard University’s Mahadevan was named in theoretical physics and life sciences. A professor of applied mathematics, physics, and organismic and evolutionary biology, his work involves understanding motion and matter at the observable scale of “middle earth” through the integration of experiments, theory and computation. His areas of interest are the patterns of shape and flow of inanimate matter and the dynamics of sentient living matter that can self-organize, perceive and act. 

Mahadevan, a MacArthur Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society, has publications on subjects like the geometry and physics of soft materials, the mathematics of origami and kirigami, the morphodynamics of cells and organs, and the ethology of collective behaviour. 

UCLA’s Sahai was named in theoretical computer science. Research being carried out by Sahai proposes fundamental new concepts in cryptography and establishes new feasibility results. His works propose the notions of indistinguishability obfuscation and functional encryption. 

Sahai’s recent work attempts to establish the feasibility of indistinguishability obfuscation and functional encryption for general computations based on well-studied hardness conjectures. 

For the Simons Investigator programs, Simons Foundation every year requests nominations from a list of institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

“Co-founded in 1994 in New York City by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation exists to support basic — or discovery-driven — scientific research undertaken in the pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world. Marilyn Simons served as president of the foundation until 2021 when David Spergel was appointed president of the foundation,” Simons Foundation’s website noted. 

“The Simons Foundation’s support of science takes two forms: We support research by making grants to individual investigators and their projects through academic institutions, and, with the launch of the Flatiron Institute in 2016, we now conduct scientific research in-house, supporting teams of top computational scientists,” it added. 

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