Tessy Thomas, Geeta Varadan named for Nayudamma Award

Two women scientists, Tessy Thomas and Geeta Varadan, have been awarded the Y Nayudamma Memorial Award for the year 2014, for their contribution in the field of missile technology and remote sensing.

Tessy Thomas is director, Advanced Systems Laboratory of the state-run Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Hyderabad and project director (mission) for Agni V, while Geeta Varadan is director of the Advanced Data Processing Research Institute of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Dr Tessy Thomas, known as 'Missile Woman of India,' holds B Tech in electrical engineering, ME in guided missiles, MBA in operations management and Ph.D in missile guidance. In her career spanning 27 years, she has contributed in various fields, such as guidance, control, inertial navigation, trajectory simulation and mission design.

Geeta Varadan is a graduate in electronics and communications engineering and Master of Engineering in controls and computer science. She started her career with electronics and radar development establishment in Bangalore in 1976. After a three-year stint with DRDO, she joined the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) in 1979. As Isro's Programme Director (Special Projects), she has conceptualised and operationalised the Cartosat 2A/2B and the GSAT-7 programmes for remote sensing and communications respectively. In addition, Varadan has pioneered the development of a real time satellite data processing system using the state-of-the-art GP/GPU technology. Her latest foray is in the area of cyber security and cloud computing

The awards will be given away to the winners by former head of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Ramon Magsaysay award recipient Shanta Sinha at function to be held in Tenali, Andhra Pradesh on 1 March 2015.

On the occasion, Thomas and Varadan will also deliver the 23rd Y Nayudamma memorial lectures on `Make in India - Defence needs and initiatives' and `Remote sensing technology for national needs' respectively.

Founder and managing trustee of the Y Nayudamma Memorial Trust, P Vishnu Murthy, said in a release that this was the first time in the annals of the trust that two eminent women scientists were being concurrently honoured. The trust had earlier honoured V Shanta of the Adyar Cancer Research Institute, Chennai.

The award was instituted in 1986 in memory of global leather scientist and former director general of CSIR, Yelavarthy Nayudamma. Among the distinguished scientists and technocrats honoured with the award are Sam Pitroda, Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, Lalji Singh, Rajendra Pawar, V Shanta, V K Saraswat, T Ramasami, A  Sivathanu Pillai and Nori Dattatreyudu.