RAMAKRISHNAN INDIAN CITIZEN GOT NOBEL PRIZE IN 2009
2009 Nobel laureate Ramakrishnan conferred knighthood
London: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, An India-born US citizen whose pioneering work in molecular biology won him the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has been honoured with a knighthood by the royal establishment in a rare recognition of achievements by foreigners based in Britain.
58-year-old Ramakrishnan, known to most as Venky, is based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.
He has been conferred the knighthood “for services to molecular biology” in the New Year Honours List 2012.
After the list was released early on Saturday, Ramakrishnan said that honouring him with a knighthood reflects the contribution made by immigrants to British society. “Indeed, many of the founding members of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology were immigrants themselves, and they helped to revolutionise modern biology,” he said.
It is rare for foreign citizens to be honoured with knighthoods.
Such individuals do not use the style ‘Sir’, but are often called ‘Sir’ in popular parlance, such as ‘Sir Garfield Sobers’ in the case of the legendary West Indies cricketer.
Unlike foreign citizens who were conferred knighthood in the past such as Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany, President Francois Mitterrand of France and Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York, Ramakrishnan, Geim and Novoselov are based in the UK.
Born in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, Ramakrishnan studied at Baroda University, Ohio University and the University of California, San Diego.
Ramakrishnan was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2010.
Other Indian-origin individuals to be honoured in the 2012 list include Professor Dinesh Kumar Makhan Lai Bhugra, lately president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, for services to Psychiatry.
Anant Barodekar, founder of Club 25 for Young People, has been honoured for services to young people, while Kulvinder Bassi, Community Rail Team Leader, Department for Transport, has been honoured for services to Transport.
Also honoured are broadcaster Surjit Singh Ghuman, founder of Panjab Radio, Dr Hasmukh Joshi, Dr Raman Kapur, Madhurika Patel, Harbans Kaur Singh, Bakhshish Singh Sodhi and cricketer Umesh Valjee (for services to Deaf Cricket).
The royal recognition comes in the backdrop of the David Cameron government tightening policies to curb immigration from India and other non-EU countries.
The government’s measures to curb immigration by placing annual limit on non-EU professionals have come under much criticism, including from Nobel prize-winning British scientists, on the grounds that it deprives Britain’s science industry of talent.