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Top royal honour for Indian-origin scientist Pratibha Gai

Gai is the fourth Indian-origin woman conferred with the honour since it was instituted in 1917.

world Updated: Dec 30, 2017 21:59 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Pratibha Laxman Gai,damehood,Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018
Pratibha Gai She has been honoured for “services to chemical sciences and technology”.(Courtesy: Royal Society of Chemistry)

Acclaimed York-based scientist Pratibha Laxman Gai has been named for damehood, the female equivalent of a knighthood, leading a number of people of Indian-origin from various walks of life in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018 released on Saturday.

Gai, professor and acclaimed expert on electron microscopy based at the University of York, grew up in India and won the national science talent scholarship before winning another scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge.

She is the fourth Indian-origin woman conferred with the honour since it was instituted in 1917, following Maharani Lakshmi Devi of Dhar (1931), educationist Asha Khemka (2014) and medicine academic Parveen Kumar (2017).

She has been honoured for “services to chemical sciences and technology”, an official release said.

The damehood and other honours will be conferred at the Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family at various times in 2018.

Inspired in early life by the renowned physicist-chemist Marie Cure, Gai’s patented inventions are in the fields of hydrocarbon catalysis/polymers, energy sources, electronic ceramics, Piezoelectrics and nanocoatings for polymers and food.

She created the atomic-resolution environmental transmission electron microscope and is considered an outspoken advocate for women with careers in science. She has over 300 refereed scientific papers in leading journals and nine co-authored and edited books and journal issues.

Her expertise includes development of novel chemical processes, nanomaterials, reaction mechanisms and novel in-situ environmental electron microscopy in gases and liquids, surface science and catalysis for healthcare, and energy and climate control.

The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018 includes the names of former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, novelist Michael Morpurgo, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and women’s cricket captain Heather Knight, whose team beat India in the world cup final.

Other Indian-origin individuals named for the honours include:

Officers of the Order of the British Empire: Jarnail Singh Athwal (for services to business and charity, Datchet, Berkshire); Charanjit Bountra, professor of translational medicine, University of Oxford (for services to translational medical research); Ranjit Lal Dheer (for services to local government and to charity, London); Rilesh Kumar Jadeja (for services to people with disabilities, London); Rohinton Minoo Kalifa (for services to the financial services and technology, London); Paromita Konar-Thakkar (for services to energy analysis, London); Rajan Madhok (for services to renal research and tackling health inequalities in Scotland, Pollockshields, Glasgow); Jaswant Ramewal (for services to defence, London); Naymitkumar Shah (for services to law enforcement and diversity, abroad).

Members of the Order of the British Empire: Onkardeep Singh Bhatia (for services to the community particularly young people, London); Balwant Singh Chadha (for services to local government and community cohesion in the west of Scotland, Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire); Bobby Gurbhej Singh Dev (for services to young people in Sheffield, South Yorkshire); Neelam Farzana (for services to mental health in the community, London); Atulkumar Bhogilal Patel (for services to heritage and the community in the East Midlands, Leicestershire); Mubeen Yunus Patel (for services to public sector digital transformation programme, Leicestershire); Gurmit Singh Randhawa (for services to community cohesion in the Vale of Glamorgan); Mehool Harshadray Sanghrajka (for services to the Jain faith and education, London); Shyamal Kanti Sengupta (for services to interfaith relations in Renfrewshire); Vikas Sagar Shah (for services to business and the economy, Greater Manchester); Rohit Shankar (for services to people with learning disabilities in Cornwall); Sanjiv Kumar Shridhar (for services to primary care, Cheshire); Seema Srivastava (for services to improving quality and patient safety, Bristol).

Medallist of the Order of the British Empire: Kulbir Singh Brar (for services to community cohesion, Berkshire); Buldev Kaur Angela Kandola (for services to vulnerable people with mental health issues, Nottinghamshire); Subhash Chander Mahajan (for services to the community in Hounslow); Manju Rajawat (for services to border security, Buckinghamshire); Suryadevara Yadu Porna Chandra Prasad Rao (for services to health and care, Staffordshire); Asish Jaidev Soni (for voluntary and charitable services to homeless people in London); Deviesh Tankaria (for voluntary service, London).

Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal: Kuldip Singh Bhamrah, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

First Published: Dec 30, 2017 17:11 IST