Organisms, objects & ocean are their work
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Molecules and medicines
G Narahari Sastry
The scientist at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, has been researching molecular models — trying to understand how non-bonded interactions control the structure and function of molecules — and computer-aided drug design. Several of his theoretical predictions were verified experimentally. Dr Sastry, 45, hails from Khammam district where he did his BSc before getting an MSc in physical chemistry from Osmania University and a PhD from the University of Hyderabad. He worked in Switzerland and Israel before returning to India to join Pondicherry University. In 2002, he joined IICT. He also won the B M Birla Science Award in 2001, the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, the Swarnajayanti Fellowship in 2005, and the CRSI Medal in 2010.
He breaks rather than makes
Professor Ramamurty of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, is interested in how things break. Straddling the fundamental science of deformation and fracture, he studies exotic materials like metallic glasses, metallic foams and shape memory alloys to understand why some materials withstand more stress than others. With such materials finding wide-ranging applications in defence, bio-engineering and high-end consumer durables, Ramamurty's research at IISc's department of materials engineering is current and exciting. "Ramamurty has been one of our brightest stars. One of the potentially interesting areas of research into which he has embarked recently is the use of nanoindentation to study biological systems. He has used very powerful, small-scale methods of poking things that allow him to probe the response on a scale of a few nanometers," says Vikram Jayaram, who chairs the department at IISc. An engineer, Ramamurty says some of the new materials he is working with have applications ranging from coronary stents to armour-piercing missile heads. "But I don't make things, I break them," he says.
Simulating materials on supercomputer