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Indian American Scholars awarded fellowships with Sloan Foundation

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SLOAN_logoNEW YORK (Diya TV) — Among the crowd of 126 scholars and researchers from the U.S. and Canada selected as this year’s fellowship grantees for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation were seven Indian Americans.

Venkat Chandrasekaran of the California Institute of Technology, Abhinav Gupta of Carnegie Mellon, Ankur Moitra and Yogesh Surendranath of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Devi Parikh of Virginia Tech, and Surjeet Rajendran and Nikhil Srivastava of the University of California at Berkeley were the Indian American recipients of the awards this year.

The research fellowships have been handed out since 1955, and honor career scientists and scholars who are identified early as the industry’s future. Often charged with spearheading the next generation of scientific research, those who are selected by the foundation receive a grant of $55,000 to further their research and studies.2016-SRF-Announcement-Spotlight

Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor in the computing and mathematical sciences department at the California Institute of Technology, leads a research team focused on mathematical optimization. Specifically, Chandrasekaran is searching for an understanding of the power and limitations of convex optimization. His thesis, which also studied the specifics of convex optimization, received the Jin-Au Kong Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in electrical engineering at MIT. He’s also been the recipient of the Young Researcher Prize in Continuous Optimization for his work on matrix decomposition.

Gupta serves as an assistant professor in Carnegie Melon’s Robotics Institute. His research has put the magnify glass on how humans interact with their environment and how their perception of visual world depends on these interactions and their abilities.

Moitra works as an assistant professor at MIT’s department of mathematics, and is also a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence lab at the school. Prior to his arrival in Cambridge, Moitra was an NSF CI Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, and also a senior postdoc in the computer science department at Princeton University. Moitra’s work has specialized in multiple areas of algorithms, and lately has been working on the intersection of algorithms and machine learning.

Surendranath, Moitra’s MIT counterpart, spends his time in a lab focused on addressing global challenges in the areas of chemical catalysis, energy storage and utilization, and environmental stewardship. The technological advances discovered by him and his team have allowed for new methods for controlling the selectivity and efficiency of inner-sphere reactions at solid-liquid interfaces.

Parikh, leader of Virginia Tech’s computer vision lab, was previously awarded the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 2014. She is using her prize money to help computers “read” complex images with the use of cartoon clip art scenes.

Rajendran, a graduate of both Caltech and Stanford University, with degrees in both mathematics and a Ph.D. in physics respectfully, has very broad interests. His studies range from theoretical physics, to a strong focus physics beyond the standard model. Physics’ standard model has withstood multiple experimental tests, leaving many questions unanswered. His desire is to seek out a new invention; one which would develop new experimental avenues to clear the path for discoveries of new types of physics.

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India agrees to supply Hydroxychloroquine to U.S.

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Hydroxychloroquine

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — India confirmed they will fulfill the order the U.S. made for hydroxychloroquine, just a couple of days after they banned all exports of the malaria treatment without exception. President Trump and Prime Minister Modi spoke about keeping the supply chain intact over the weekend. And India says the U.S. purchase was approved before President Trump said there would be ‘retaliation’ if the drug was not released, medicine that is being used to treat coronavirus patients without definitive evidence it works. India says they have enough hydroxychloroquine stock for its people today, but reserves the right to hold back the supply if their COVID-19 caseload increases.

One day after he defended firing Captain Brett Crozier from command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt by calling him “stupid,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned. Modly was severely criticized for firing Crozier, after the captain wrote an alarming letter seeking faster assistance for his sailors exposed to COVID-19 on board, a letter that was leaked to the press.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump calls on Modi to supply Hydroxychloroquine

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — President Trump spoke to Prime Minister Modi over the weekend about how the two nations would combat the coronavirus, with a focus on ensuring the supply chain for pharmaceuticals and medical goods continues. But at a press conference, when informed India had banned the export of the drug hydroxychloroquine “without any exceptions,” Trump threatened retaliation. Hydroxychloroquine is typically used to treat malaria, but some COVID-19 patients have found it helpful. And the President has been touting it during his press conferences, without a clinical trial proving if it is indeed effective. India provides nearly half of America’s supply of the medicine. It is not clear whether India’s ban would apply to orders already placed.

Prime Minister Modi called on his nation to unite in the battle against COVID-19 by lighting diyas for 9 minutes at 9 pm Sunday night. Millions of people around India took part, which is now entering its third week of being mandated to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump tells India to supply hydroxychloroquine or face ‘retaliation’

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During a White House Press briefing, President Trump recounted having a conversation with Indian Prime Minister Modi Sunday morning about the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. When informed by reporters that Modi was unlikely to release to any nation hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria that may be helpful in treating COVID-19, Trump responded in shock, stating that he didn’t like the plan and that he would be surprised if this was the Prime Minister’s decision due to India’s strong economic ties with the United States in the trade sector. Trump stated that this course of action wouldn’t be consequence free, and that there may be retaliation in response. 

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