Nobel Prize Winners in Science From India

Nobel Prize Winners in Science From India

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Nobel Prize: Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award.

1. Ronald Ross (1857-1932)

Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine (1902)

Ronald Ross was born in Uttrakhand, Almora, on 13th May, 1857. He commenced the study of medicine in London in 1875. He passed his final examination in 1880 and joined the Indian Medical Service in 1881. His first posting was in Madras. He commenced the study of malaria in 1892. Ross studied malaria between 1882 and 1899. He worked on malaria at the Presidency General Hospital, Calcutta. Ross built a bungalow with a laboratory at Mahanad village, where he used to stay from time to time collecting mosquitoes in Mahanad and adjoining villages and conducting research. In 1883, Ross was posted as the Acting Garrison Surgeon at Bangalore during which time he noticed the possibility of controlling mosquitoes by controlling their access to water. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria. He received many honors in addition to the Nobel Prize, and was given Honorary Membership of learned societies of most countries of Europe, and of many other continents. He got an honorary M.D. degree in Stockholm in 1910 at the centenary celebration of Caroline Institute. Whilst his vivacity and single minded search for truth caused friction with some people, he enjoyed a vast circle of friends in Europe, Asia and America who respected him for his personality as well as for his genius.

2. Abdus Salam (1926-1996)

Nobel Prize for Physics (1979)

Abdus Salam was born in Jhang, a small town in undivided Punjab, now in Pakistan, in 1926. His father was an official in the Department of Education in a poor farming district. His family has a long tradition of piety and learning. He was awarded Nobel Prize in physics in 1979 with Steven Weinberg for his work on electroweak unification. Salam was a very private individual, who kept his public and personal lives quite separate. He married twice and at his death, was survived by three daughters and a son by his first wife and a son and daughter by his second, Professor Dame Louise Johnson, formerly Professor of Molecular Biophysics in Oxford University. He married Dr. Johnson in 1968 in London. His witness was Paul Matthews. This marriage did not conform to Islamic regulations which call for 2 Muslims as witnesses. Salam was a science advisor to the Government of Pakistan from 1960 to 1974, a position from which he played a major and influential role in Pakistan’s science infrastructure. Salam was responsible for not only major development and contribution in theoretical and particle physics, but as well as promoting scientific research at maximum level in his country. Salam was the founding director of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and responsible for the establishment of the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Salam played an integral role in Pakistan’s development of peaceful use of nuclear energy. In 1974, Abdus Salam departed from his country, after Pakistan Parliament passed a controversial parliamentary bill declaring the Ahmadiyya denomination as non-Islamic. Even after his death, Salam remained one of the most influential scientists in his country. In 1998, the Government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp, as a part of Scientists of Pakistan, to honour the services of Salam.
3. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1888-1970)

Nobel Prize for Physics (1930)

C V Raman was born on 7th Nov. 1888 in Thiruvanaikkaval, in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu. He finished school by the age of eleven and by then he had already read the popular lectures of Tyndall, Faraday and Helmoltz. He acquired his BA degree from the Presidency College, Madras, where he carried out original research in the college laboratory, publishing the results in the philosophical magazine. Then went to Calcutta and while he was there, he made enormous contributions to vibration, sound, musical instruments, ultrasonics, diffraction, photo electricity, colloidal particles, X-ray diffraction, magnetron, dielectrics and the celebrated Raman effect which fetched him the Noble Prize in 1930. He was the first Asian scientist to win the Nobel Prize. The Raman Effect occurs when a ray of incident light excites a molecule in the sample, which subsequently scatters the light. While most of this scattered light is of the same wavelength as the incident light, state i.e. getting the molecule to vibrate. The Raman Effect is useful in the study of molecular energy levels, structure development and multi component qualitative analysis.

4. Hargobind Khorana (1922-2011)

Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology (1968)

Hargobind Khorana was born on 9th January 1922 at Raipur, Punjab now in Pakistan. Dr. Khorana was responsible for producing the first man made gene in his laboratory in the early seventies. This historic invention won him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1968 sharing it with Marshall Nuremberg and Robert Holley for interpreting the genetic code and analyzing its function in protein synthesis. They all independently made contributions to the understanding of the genetic code and how it works in the cell. They established that this mother of all codes, the biological language common to all living organisms, is spelled out in three letter words, each set of three nucleotides codes for a specific amino acid. He had left India in 1945 and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1970. He continued to head a laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in United States, until his death in 2011.

5. Subramaniam Chandrasekar (1910-1995)

Nobel Prize for Physics (1983)

Subramaniam Chandrashekhar was born on October 19, 1910 in Lahore, British India (Pakistan) in a Tamil family. His paternal uncle was the Indian physicist and Nobel laureate C. V. Raman. He attended Presidency College from 1925 to 1930. Chandrasekhar served on University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995 at the age of 84. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953. His work spanned over the understanding of the rotation of planets, stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies and clusters of galaxies. He won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for his theoretical work on stars and their evolution.

6. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (1952)

Nobel Prize for Chemistry (2009)

Venkatraman Venki Ramakrishnan was born in Chidambaram, Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) in 1952. He was an Indian born American and British structural biologist, who shared the Nobel Prize in 2009 in Chemistry with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome. He currently works at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England and now a US Citizen.

 List of Nobel Laureates related to India

Year Laureates Subject Origin
1902 Ronald Ross Medicine Foreign citizen born in India
1930 C.V. Raman Physics Citizen of India
1968 Har Gobind Khorana Medicine Foreign citizen of Indian origin
1979 Abdus Salam Physics Indian origin
2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Chemistry Foreign citizen of Indian origin