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Indian-American Professor Shruti Puri Named Blavatnik Scientists Awards Finalist

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Indian origin researcher Shruti Puri was named one of the finalists at the 2020 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. Professor Puri is a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University. She was shortlisted as a finalist in the “Physical Sciences and Engineering” category.

Shruti Puri is currently working as an assistant professor in the Applied Physics department at Yale. She was recognised for her extraordinary “theoretical discoveries in quantum information storage and quantum computing,” Eurekalert.org reported. This project is a part of her postdoctoral work.

Puri will be awarded a $10,000 prize. The Blavatnik Awards committee recognises postdoctoral scientists from academic research institutions across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and honours them in three scientific categories: life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and chemistry, a report noted.

What project was Puri working on?

Puri is a BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology and earned her PhD from Stanford University. She was working on quantum computing systems in which “error (noise) is an obstacle to accuracy and computational advantage,” the foundation said.

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“Puri’s rigorous theoretical and mathematical treatment of error led to the discovery of a completely new way of storing information in microwave photons (quanta of light), known as the Kerr-cat quantum bit,” the release said. “Puri’s discovery makes the path towards scalable quantum computing technologies truly possible, by tailoring the errors affecting the quantum bit in such a way that they become relatively easy to correct.”

The Indian American researcher was recently promoted to a tenure-track position at Yale University, which nominated her for the awards.

Who are the winners?

This year’s three winners are Antonio Fernández-Ruiz in the category of life sciences; Adrian Price-Whelan in physical sciences & engineering; and Ning Jia in chemistry.

Nominated by New York University, Fernández-Ruiz “has expanded our understanding of how neurons in the brain coordinate their activity to support our ability to form and recall memories,” the foundation said in a press release. Price-Whelan, nominated by Flatiron Institute, “has unlocked one of the biggest mysteries of the universe—dark matter,” by “innovative use of advanced statistical analysis and computational techniques,” it said. Chemistry winner Jia, nominated by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, “has unlocked key biological mechanisms that govern the function of enzymes and CRISPR-Cas systems, such as those used in gene editing,” the release said.

Also Read: Working From Home, Indian-Origin Scientist Creates Fifth State Of Matter

Along with the winners, this year’s six finalists will be honoured alongside the 2021 honorees next year on September 27, 2021, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the release said.

Feature Image Credit: Georgia Tech School of Physics

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