Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Prof Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan


PROFESSOR Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, one of the world’s most eminent molecular biologists, reached the pinnacle of scientific achievement when he and two others shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2009. In 2015 he became the first person of Indian origin to be elected president of the Royal Soci ety, the organisation that represents the world’s most eminent scientists. He stepped down from the post after five years but was able to convince many people that it would be good idea to make some form of maths compulsory for all children till the age of 18.

Venki, as everyone calls him, told GG2 Power List: “When I was Royal Society president I wanted British education to be broader. What ever you think of Rishi Sunak’s other policies, I do agree with the prime minister’s proposal for everyone to study maths – and English – right until they leave school at 18.” Venki works at the Laboratory for Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, where he has been based since 1999 and did much of the groundbreaking research on ribosomes that won him the Nobel Prize. “Translation of genetic information into pro tein is fundamental to life,” he said. “It is car ried out by the large macromolecular machine called the ribosome.” In 2018, Venki published his first book, Gene Machine: The Race to De cipher the Secrets of the Ribosome. He has spent nearly three years writing his second, Why We Die: The New Science of Ageing and the Quest for Immortality, which is being brought out in the UK by Hodder Press on March 19. It will be published all over the world, with many translations. According to his publishers, Venki has transformed “our under standing of why we age and die, and why some species live longer than others.

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