Awards Current Affairs 2017

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Former ISRO Chariman UR Rao becomes first Indian to be inducted into IAF Hall of Fame

Former ISRO Chairman and space scientist Prof Udupi Ramachandra Rao became the first Indian to be inducted in the Hall of Fame of International Astronautical Federation (IAF).

He was inducted during the closing ceremony of the 67th IAF Congress 2016 held at Guadalajara, Mexico for his outstanding contribution to the progress of astronautics.

About UR Rao

  • He had served as Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1984 to 1994.
  • Under his guidance, ISRO had designed more than 20 satellites including India’s first satellite Aryabhatta.
  • Under his leadership, India had initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
  • He was also responsible for successful launch of INSAT satellites during his stint at ISRO.
  • He also had served as the first Chairman of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the ISRO. He has published more than 260 scientific and technical papers in various journals.
  • He had played pivotal role in promoting the use of space technology for broadcasting, meteorology, education, disaster warning and remote sensing.
  • Awards and Honours: Padma Bhushan (1976). He was inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington in March 2013 by the Society of Satellite Professionals International.

IAF Hall of Fame: It consists of a permanent gallery of these personalities, including biographical information, citation and a picture in a special part of the IAF web presence.


British trio David Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz win 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics

British trio of physicists David Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz have won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. They will share the 8 million Swedish kronor prize.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected them for their individual researches on theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.

Key Facts

  • Their research work centres on Topology, a branch of mathematics involving step-wise changes like making a series of holes in an object.
  • For example when matter goes from solid to liquid to gas different phases are obvious, but materials can also undergo topological step changes which affect their electrical properties.
  • Such changes can be seen in a superconductor, which at low temperatures conducts electricity without resistance.
  • These trio physicists had worked in the field of condensed matter physics and have discovered totally unexpected behaviours of solid materials.
  • Based on their individual discoveries they came up with a mathematical framework in the field of topology to explain these weird properties.
  • The discoveries have paved the way for designing new materials with all sorts of novel properties that have significant potential revolutionize advances in electronics and future quantum computers.

About Awardees

  • David J Thouless: He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, US.
  • Duncan M. Haldane: He is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University, US.
  • J Michael Kosterlitz: He is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics at Brown University, US.


Nayanjot Lahiri wins 2016 John F Richards Prize

History writer Nayanjot Lahiri has won the prestigious 2016 John F. Richards Prize for her book Ashoka in Ancient India.

The prestigious prize will be bestowed upon her at the American Historical Association (AHA’s) 131st Annual Meeting to be held in Denver, Colorado in January 2017.

Her book Ashoka in Ancient India has been critically acclaimed for its riveting account of an emperor Ashoka. She had deftly adjudicated between textual, archaeological, and geographical evidences to offer a dazzling interpretation of Ashoka and the ancient world.

About Nayanjot Lahiri

  • Nayanjot Lahiri is an eminent historian and archaeologist of ancient India.
  • Currently, she is teaching at the newly created Ashoka University.
  • She has several research papers and publications to her credit.
  • Her research interests mostly include Indian archaeology, heritage studies, archeological theory and ancient India.
  • For her work in archaeology, she was bestowed with the 2013 Infosys Prize in the humanities.

About John F. Richards Prize

  • The John F. Richards Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA).
  • The award has been named after John F. Richards (November 1938 to August 2007) who was eminent historian of South Asia and in particular of the Mughal Empire.
  • It recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship or book on South Asian history published in English.