Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2 Americans, Israeli win Nobel chemistry prize

2 Americans, Israeli win Nobel chemistry prize

Trio’s work is ‘directly assisting the saving of lives,’ academy says

STOCKHOLM - Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz and Israeli Ada Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for mapping ribosomes, the protein-producing factories within cells, at the atomic level.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work has been fundamental to the scientific understanding of life and has helped researchers develop antibiotic cures for various diseases.

Crtsy: MSNBC


As the name suggests...Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is an Indian but it needed America to make him shine....and also to claim his success...

Venki Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan wins Nobel for Chemistry

London, Oct 7 (PTI) Tamil Nadu-born Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a senior scientist at the MRC Laborartory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 along with two others, the Nobel Committee announced today.

Born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Ramakrishnan shares the Nobel prize with Thomas E Steitz (US) and Ada E Yonath (Israel) for their "studies of the structure and function of the ribosome".

Ramakrishnan earned his B.Sc. in Physics (1971) from Baroda University and his Ph.D. in Physics (1976) from Ohio University.

He moved into biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he took a year of classes, then conducted research with Dr Mauricio Montal, a membrane biochemist.

Indians have the brains, the will and determination but yet the factor for success in India seems to have left its shores..


  1. 'Indians have the brains, the will and determination but yet the factor for success in India seems to have left its shores..' So true..

    In these sort of cases, the main problem is that very few universities in India have the kind of environment which encourages research of any sort.. So people like him have no option but to go abroad..

  2. It is a matter of pride that an Indian by birth has won it. The joy would have been greater had it been and 'Indian' Indian.

    But that can happen only if we have institutions where people work at the frontiers of knowledge. Let's hope Sibal does something in this direction.

  3. As you rightly took Americans to encourage a Venkataraman. The reason for brain drain always was and still is envy in India. I don't deny the fact that it exists in US too but I have seen that you get encouraged a lot here.

    Have you watched 'Ek Doctor ki maut'? It claims to be a true story that medicine for leprosy was made in India but internal politics and envy disregarded it and the Doctor died unsung. Claim went to an outsider because it was sold (don't remember) or was developed by some outsider.

    Also another reason for these Iyers and other upper castes to move abroad is reservation. While it is utmost important to give opportunities to economically backward people but it mostly goes only to a set group and that has cause a lot of brain drain.

    It is sad that ancient India lost many credits because we were isolated and never made claims even when most things were discovered and invented much before the western world but it to happen even today because of totally different reasons is sad.

  4. You said it right...

    India has brilliant seeds to offer big emerging farms but the only difference is the seeds are never utilized in Indian farms.

    I have seen young and creative personalities who are not highlighted because their exposure in India is limited.

    I think when we have great, educated, technical and creative leaders to lead our country, we will have several noble prizes waiting for us.

  5. Heard a good percentage of scientists in NASA are Indians.our IAS\IPS officers are taking voluntary retirement and long leave and going to abroad.We can't blame them,they got better opportunity,respect,money from abroad.That is what i feel.

  6. Nice post! Something to think about, certainly.

    In India research jobs generally pay less than corporate ones. So pure research is not the first choice for many bright young people after completing their education.

    Those who truly prefer to work in research, go abroad...

  7. It sure is a happy and proud moment.As I said in another blog,only if could provide the infrastructure and the facilities in India.

  8. Hello,

    I read your blog occassionally. I wanted to add my two pence to this post since its the same technique that I too use for my work.

    It is difficult to do science in India without getting mired in caste/region/religion/gender politics. Having said that I have encountered prejudices here(UK) as well. But, the encouragement you get for your hard work and recognition for your dedication lacks in India and it is true for any field.

    Things are improving and infrastructure is getting better in India, so hopefully soon we will hear the news of an Indian from India getting the nobel prize.


  9. Smitha: very true.. research in our Universities are dwindling and maybe there is no scope too.. unless one is much dedicated, it is very easy to give up.

    Vinod: not sure if Sibal is right or wrong... I was much elated when I heard that the 10th board exam will no more be there, until I talked to a parent who has seen both his children get the best education and in turn lucrative career too.. he says if India has been doing well all these years with these exams then it has to be good..all our Venkataramanans are good examples too.. we had our basics right all along..... moreover I do wonder if our teachers are equipped to deal with the new system...
    nd then the Madrasa board.. how can a country set different standards? do they want to divide the country from school itself?

  10. Solilo: yes there is much advantage when one leaves the country.. to an outsider you are only an Indian... one is not burdened with the task of overcoming the other hurdles.. caste, creed, religion etc... and then there is the opportunity too..

    i havent watched the movie.. but i do read that ancient Indian was much ahead in all the fields but then we havent learned the act of showing it off...

    Abhi: very true.. we have the best talents waiting to be nurtured but no takers as yet..

  11. So true, your last sentence. And India is quick to praise and embrace - and take credit - once these people succeed outside India. Also, so many of our own artists and musicians get better recognition in India once they have been feted abroad, which is so sad.
    But things seem to be changing, and Indians are now proud and confident of their Indianness.

  12. Anish; very true.. some of the best brains in US belongs to India... nd this brain drain has been continuing since long due to many reasons... but a return trend is also visible these days.. but the country needs to do more to hold them...

    BKc; yes.. India needs to provide what US is providing them... even if the returns are not the same, there are many people willing to continue in India itself...for some of them it may not be the monetary returns but the recognition and the right atmosphere to do research..

  13. Manju: Yes.. wish India could hold onto them.. our educational institutions needs to be revamped.. opportunities for doing research needs to be given to the deserving.. instead we do have many who have taken doctorate only since a teaching job demanded it.. and they are forced to seek out subjects which may not contribute much..

    Gayatri: A warm welcome to you… hope you will visit more often and also place your valuable comments..
    India needs to do more.. the scholarship schemes needs to attract more students on merit alone and this should continue with more inputs/incentives from the state education boards..this can create a pool of talents who may then be lured into research/ development if they desire..

    Kamini: Very true.. we take credit once they have succeeded outside India..and yes even our artists have more recognition outside our country…

    India still needs to a go a long way.. my own cousin (we did degree together) would have never had 2 patents in her name if she had continued in India.. but I do think that most Indians have always been proud of their Indianness even when they moved out.. .. if you a look at most blogs.. u can feel it.. even if they are doing well, their hearts still ache for India..

  14. On the other hand India did miss out on Nobel prizes ……this article takes a look at it..

    Shivanand Kanavi reveals how Narinder Kapany, the Father of Fibre Optics, missed out on a Nobel Prize [ Images ] this year.
    First, it was Jagadish Chandra Bose at the turn of the century, who was the first to demonstrate wireless signaling in 1895. Later, he even created a radio wave receiver called the 'coherer' from iron and mercury. Though he showed no interest in patenting it, Bose demonstrated his inventions in Kolkata

  15. You are absolutely right. As long as the our mentality of running after Engineering, Medicine and MBA courses persists, it will be difficult for any one who wants to pursue a serious career in research to succeed in India. Lets hope the next generation is given the opportunity to pursue its dreams.

  16. Dreamer: very true :) our kids dont go beyond Doctors, Eng and then the additional MBA.. nd now we have Eng colleges in every village (?) and some of them dont even have proper faculty.. just yesterday I watched the poor students say that they are taught by fresh B.Tch grad who dont stick on the job for long..

  17. i once worked for hedge fund technology company in india. The Boss told me, We don't need IITians here. We need workers who will work 24/7.

    that was just an eg. to show that people in charge don't appreciate brains and ingenuity.

    and the academic atmosphere here is very liberal, and open. appreciates ideas and encourages to pursue.

    only millions more will leave the country

  18. And another thing if we show initativeness and do something we are asked " Did I tell you to do this". The professor here would say - let me see what you have done first - entrepreneurship even in the smallest child is encouraged.

    And another important condescending attitude that curbs ingenuity and brains is - "Have somebody done this before ". apne appko hoshyar samjta hai kya. They kill the spirit too.

    And the sterotypical mindset. will anybody give a neuroscience graduate a job in marketing ? the recruiters will say," Is his knees in the brains ...

    No end to such attitudes and just saying it is a matter of indian pride -- really what indian - i can think of only more -ves than positives.

    One has to waste more energy selling oneself that doing it. Well here too there is some element of that, but it easy to remove such hurdles and move forward

  19. and lets make no mistake these indian brains do not belong to india anymore . they are US citizens and money spent by the US here.. because some of the research can be conducted only as citizens.

    if you don't have the citizenshipp, companies will help you get in a day - i know a case in GE.

    ask these guys to go to india - they will say - what will i do there ? no indianess my dear.

    there are 1000 people of indian descent here and everybody is plowing the field and yield great harvest in their fields and US takes the name. let us all stand corrected. no people of indian desent votes republican or democrat thinking of how will the new government think of india. everybody thinks of their own family unit , and isn' that the basic unit of society ?

  20. check this guy out - viral acharya - a 1995 pass out from IIT bombay - seems like he is a rising star in the finance world and has a book in his name ( edited ) - how to restore the current system or something like that. before we know it the finance minister will ask him to come to india - there are too many like that - too many - our very own manmohan singh was at the world bank - and he was called by the congress and so left and went.chidambaram also belongs to the connnected rich lot, but what about poor, middle class intelligent brains who have no connections but only a resume to show - the US educational institutions pamper them and they give results - that the world will look with envy - may be i should put all that i have written in perspective and write apost - isn't it ?

  21. Anrosh: You have indeed given some harsh truth which cannot be ignored and even though you have written it here, it does call for a post from you so that the same can be viewed by many more..

    I have just repeated a few…

    -entrepreneurship even in the smallest child is encouraged.

    -condescending attitude of the Indians

    -One has to waste more energy selling oneself than doing it.

    -ask these guys to go to india - they will say - what will i do there ? no indianess my dear.

    -but what about poor, middle class intelligent brains who have no connections but only a resume to show - the US educational institutions pamper them and they give results

    -let us all stand corrected. no people of indian desent votes republican or democrat thinking of how will the new government think of india. everybody thinks of their own family unit , and isn' that the basic unit of society ?

    While the last one maybe not be true for those in Middle East and maybe since they know that they have to return one day :)

    But since my name is Asha..let me hopelessly hope that things are set to change in India.

  22. If we are to go with the logic that all inventions and discoveries are for the world to enjoy, there is no issue if he lived on the moon !!

    And we need to understand the lack of opportunities in India and what makes these people move to the west.

    But what surprises is the attitude some people have where they completely then reject anything remotely Indian !!

    The winner told this morning that he wouldn't even consider an option to work in India.

    Things might not be bright back home. But does it help when guys who can make a change run away from it !

  23. KK: If we are to go with the logic that all inventions and discoveries are for the world to enjoy, there is no issue if he lived on the moon !!

    That is true too.... but then I guess India has a better chance..we just produce them my millions, give them basic education and then make sure they leave India :)

    but if one succeeds in India, wont that be an inspiration to many others? I am sure there are many who prefers to stay in itself..

    as for those who can make a difference.. How can one force them to stay?

  24. Actually the examples of those who have succeeded In India are in plenty but very conveniently forgotten.

    Kalam is an example, the heros of ISRO and DRDO are other examples. But our colonial mindset lets us only see the success from abroad.

    And for every success in India there would be a hundred disadvantages to prove it otherwise !!

  25. KK: This is a fact too.. we dont praise them enough for what they have managed to do inspite of every hurdle... nd those in ISRO dont enjoy much in monetary terms but they do it since it is their passion.. nd if they fail in their attempts we are very quick to throw mud! our media itself leads the way..

  26. Yes, it s a very sad situation...often Akshay's open zippers get more attention than the achievements of the people who decide to stay back in India and slog it out!

  27. IK : people like kalam come once in 100 years - if anyone of us were magnanamious and had the brains we would stick back to the soil ...

    and akshya's open zippers - you got that right.

    I think the country is too infatuate with maths and science and undermine everything else - hence we were easily grabbed by foreign rulers and colonized and taken over by dynastic rulers at present -

  28. So true!

    People refuse to return to their own native land and I am not surprised.


Blog Archive