Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2009, on Tuesday began his five-year term as president of the Royal Society, one of the foremost fellowships in science, engineering and medicine.
Ramakrishnan, or Venki as he is popularly known, graduated from Baroda University and continued higher studies in the US. He received the Nobel Prize for chemistry with Tom Steitz and Ada Yonath, and was awarded a knighthood in 2012. He is also a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
There have been 60 presidents of the Royal Society since it was founded in 1660. Previous incumbents include Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy and Ernest Rutherford.
In his last interaction with London-based Indian journalists, Ramakrishnan said he saw his new role at the Royal Society as “a chance to repay to Britain and society for fostering my science for so many years”.
As president, he will seek to foster greater interaction and exchanges with Indian scientists and students and the society. “I would like to encourage short and long-term visits by Indian scientists and students. I would like to encourage India to focus on electron microscopy,” he said.
The Royal Society is a self-governing fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering and medicine.
The society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.