The Royal Society May 5 announced that 50 distinguished scientists, including an Indian American professor at New York University, have been elected as Fellows, as well as 10 others as new foreign members.

The scientists were elected for their outstanding contributions to science such as pioneering machine learning systems, revealing the chemical origins of life and discovering how humans operate on a 24-hour cycle, according to a Royal Society news release.

“Science is a great triumph of human achievement and has contributed hugely to the prosperity and health of our world. In the coming decades it will play an increasingly crucial role in tackling the great challenges of our time including food, energy, health and the environment,” Royal Society president Venki Ramakrishnan said in a statement. “The new Fellows of the Royal Society have already contributed much to science and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them into our ranks.”

Among those recognized were Subhash Khot and Yadvinder Malhi.

Khot is a theoretical computer scientist whose unexpected and original contributions are providing critical insight into unresolved problems in the field of computational complexity, Royal Society said.

He is best known for his prescient definition of the “Unique Games” problem, and leading the effort to understand its complexity and its pivotal role in the study of efficient approximation of optimization problems, it added.

Khot’s work has led to breakthroughs in algorithmic design and approximation hardness, and to new exciting interactions between computational complexity, analysis and geometry, it said.

A professor at NYU, Khot is a recipient of the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize by the International Mathematical Union, the Alan T. Waterman award by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Fellowship and the Simons Investigator Award.

A graduate of Princeton and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Khot has taught at Georgia Tech, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the University of Chicago.

Malhi, a professor at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, is an ecosystem ecologist who has advanced our understanding of the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and how they are responding to the pressures of global change, including climate change, degradation and loss of large animals, according to his Royal Society bio.

This work integrates insights from ecosystem ecology into earth system science, and has been characterized by a multidisciplinary approach that involves establishing broad networks of field research in tropical forests in some of the most remote and challenging regions of the world, and also the application of micrometeorological approaches, global climate datasets, terrestrial ecosystem models and satellite remote sensing, it added.

This work has contributed to our understanding of the carbon sink in the terrestrial biosphere and to how it may be vulnerable to climate warming, the Royal Society said.

Among Malhi’s interests include extending broad understanding of contemporary change in the biosphere and how to navigate it, through a combination of natural sciences, social sciences and policy approaches.

The Fellowship of the Royal Society is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from or living and working in the U.K. and the Commonwealth.

Roughly 26 percent of the Fellows — a total of 13 — are women, as well as two new female foreign members.

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