Quotes by: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Ramakrishnan in 2015
1952 (age 64–65)
Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Laboratory of Molecular Biology
University of Cambridge
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
University of Utah
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (BSc Physics)
University of California, San Diego
Ohio University (PhD)
||The Green Function Theory of the Ferroelectric Phase Transition in Potassium Dihydrogen-Phosphate (1976)
Structure and function of the ribosome
Peter B. Moore
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2009)
Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (2007)
Knight Bachelor (2012)
Padma Vibhushan (2010)
||Vera Rosenberry (m. 1975)
||1 son, 1 stepdaughter
I cannot imagine a more enjoyable place to work than in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology where I work.
There is no room for political, personal or religious ideologies in science.
The Royal Society view is completely apolitical: it will judge anything based on the evidence. One of the big strengths of the Society is that is it widely perceived as impartial and above the fray. We'd like to make sure it stays that way.
I am very grateful for the dedicated work and intellectual contributions of generations of talented postdocs, students and research assistants without whom none of the work from my laboratory would have been possible.
Unusually for an Indian man of his generation, my father, being aware of my mother's intellectual abilities, encouraged her to go abroad by herself to obtain a Ph.D.
I think it's important to give young people the freedom to follow their ideas and pursue their interests.
Like the women in my family, I've found the women in my lab a hard-nosed, ambitious lot who have gone on to be faculty members at top universities. In my own family, it is my father who is prone to bursting into tears.
Nobody has approached me about an offer to work in India. However, I can categorically state that if they did so, I would refuse immediately.
My mother, R. Rajalakshmi, taught at Annamalai University in Chidambaram, and during the day, I was well cared for by aunts and grandparents in the usual way of an extended Indian family.
I knew the ribosome was going to be the focus of Nobel prizes. It stands at the crossroads of biology, between the gene and what comes out of the gene. But I had convinced myself I was not going to be a winner.
I think we are intrinsically prone to being irrational and superstitious. A lot of it comes from our fear of the unknown and the fear of a lack of control over our fate.
I'm very grateful to have had many brilliant students and post-docs who have worked with me. Potential is often hard to spot, but a key factor is whether they express a genuine interest in the problem and how they have thought about it.
It takes a certain amount of courage to tackle very hard problems in science, I now realise. You don't know what the timescale of your work will be: decades or only a few years.
We benefit tremendously from the E.U. Britain does very well in getting back E.U. money for the amount it puts in.
Governments and scientists in India need to ensure that politics and religious ideology do not intrude into science. They belong to separate spheres, and if they are not kept separate, it is science in India and the country as a whole that will suffer.
My earlier exposure to physics certainly helped me in the use of biophysical techniques like crystallography, the use of computing, calculations, etc.
Even the best scientists are often insecure and feel the need for recognition.
I realise I have inadvertently become a source of inspiration and hope for people in India simply by the fact that I grew up there, went to my local university, but could go on to do well internationally.
People go into science out of curiosity, not to win awards. But scientists are human and have ambitions.
I began studying ribosomes as a postdoctoral fellow in Peter Moore's laboratory in 1978.