Current Affairs Awards and Prizes – March 2011
• The judges for the 83rd Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, presented The King’s Speech with not only the Best Motion Picture award but also those for Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Best Director (Tom Hooper).
• The only top award that it missed out on was Best Actress, which went to an emotional Natalie Portman for her electrifying portrayal of a troubled ballerina in Black Swan.
Yashwantrao Chavan Award for Mahasweta Devi
• Celebrated Bengali writer and activist Mahasweta Devi was conferred the Yashwantrao Chavan National Award 2010 “for her contribution to national integration, democratic values and the socio-economic development of India.”
Majuli Island for Unesco World Heritage list
• The Government of India has proposed to nominate the name of Assam’s river-island, Majuli, for inclusion in the ‘cultural landscape’ category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage list. Considered the largest freshwater river-island in the world, Majuli is located in the middle of the mighty Brahmaputra.
• The Majuli dossier will be ready by October, to be submitted to the Unesco in February 2012. Majuli was shortlisted in the World Heritage Site (WHS) ‘Tentative List’ at the World Heritage Committee session at Suzhou in China. Subsequently, a comprehensive nomination dossier was submitted in 2006, followed by additional information in 2008.
• The revised dossier moves a step closer to securing WHS status for Majuli, incorporating all referred points of past conventions.
Chameli Devi Jain award for Open magazine correspondent
• The 2010 Chameli Devi Jain award for “Outstanding Woman Media Person” was presented to a former Tehelka correspondent from Thiruvananthapuram, Shahina K.K, at a function for her “demonstrated ability to focus on issues that have deep social consequences impacting lives and concerns of ordinary people.”
Abel Prize awarded to John Willard Milnor
• The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has chosen one of the living legends of mathematics, John Willard Milnor of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences in the University of Stony Brook, U.S.A, for the award of its prestigious Abel Prize for the year 2011.
• The award carries 6 million Norwegian Kroner (approx. €750,000 or $1 m.)
• The Prize is given in recognition of contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to mathematical sciences and has been awarded annually since 2003. The Prize is named after the great Norwegian mathematical genius, Niels Henrik Abel (1802-29), often compared with the Indian wizard Srinivasa Ramanujan, who died at a very young age of 26.
• The past winners include such illustrious names as Jean-Pierre Serr (2003), Sir Michael Atiyah and Isadore M. Singer (2004), Peter D. Lax (2005), Lennart Carleson (2006), Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan (2007), John Griggs Thompson and Jacques Tits (2008), Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov (2009) and John Torrence Tate (2010).
• The 2011 award is being given to Professor Milnor, as the citation notes, “for [his] pioneering discoveries in topology, geometry and algebra.” He has even made significant contributions in number theory.
Young Scientist Award for 11
• Eleven scientists, including two from the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have been given the prestigious NASI-Scopus Young Scientist Award for 2010.
• The annual award was instituted five years ago by the National Academy of Sciences, India, (NASI) and Scopus, the abstract and citation database of the peer-reviewed scientific literature of Elsevier, the Amsterdam-based publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.
• Each award carries a trophy, a citation and a cash prize of Rs.50,000.