Prof. VijayRaghavan and Prof. Virdee are “among the world's finest”

Bangalore-based biologist Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan and Professor Tejinder Singh Virdee of Imperial College, London, who was associated with the design and construction of the Large Hadron Collider, are among six internationally-renowned scientists of Indian origin elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society, Britain's premier science academy.

They join the ranks of some of the world's most famous names, including Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking. Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said: “These scientists who have been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society are among the world's finest. They follow in the footsteps of luminaries such as Newton, Darwin and Einstein and I am delighted to welcome them into our ranks.”

The Fellows, elected for life for their contribution to excellence in science, include more than 80 Nobel Laureates.

Prof. VijayRaghavan, Director, National Centre for Biological Sciences at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, is described as “an inspirational leader successfully promoting excellence in Indian biology.”

“He has worked to establish new institutions, drawing the best young scientists to India. An outstanding developmental geneticist, his contributions to understanding the cellular and molecular principles of adult muscle development in Drosophila are widely recognised. He has elegantly combined these studies with those on the development of the nervous system to study the control and development of movement,” said the Royal Society in its citation.

Prof. Virdee is commended for his “distinguished” contribution to the design, construction and exploitation of the huge CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. He originated the concept of CMS with four colleagues around 1990 and there are now over 3,000 participants from 38 countries.

“The superb performance of CMS since high energy collisions began at the LHC is testimony to his foresight, expertise and appreciation of the complex interplay of techniques which are needed for such success,” it said.

Other Indian-origin scientists include Varinder Singh Aggarwal, Professor of Synthetic Chemistry at the University of Bristol; Shankar Balasubramanian, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cambridge University and Senior Group Leader, Cancer Research U.K., Cambridge Research Institute; Chandrashekhar Bhalchandra Khare, Professor of Mathematics at the University of California; and Professor Mathukumalli Vidyasagar of the University of Texas.

Prof. Aggarwal is commended for his “outstanding contributions to the field of asymmetric synthesis, particularly applications of ylide chemistry where he is the world leader”; Prof. Balasubramanian is hailed as “an internationally recognised leader in the field of nucleic acids”; Prof. Khare's “forte is finding ingenious but relatively simple new ideas”; and Prof. Vidyasagar has made “outstanding contributions to control and systems theory and statistical learning.”

Bangalore Staff Reporter reports:

Talking to The Hindu, Prof. VijayRaghavan said: “This is an important and valuable recognition of the efforts of my collaborators over the past two decades… Our contribution to the understanding of how nerves and muscles are built has been recognised and this has been an extraordinary scientific voyage whose success has only been due to the efforts of many students, postdoctoral fellows, junior fellows and collaborators.”

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