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Dr G N Ramachandran Holds Same Legacy as CV Raman: Former CSIR Chief

In Trivandrum
January 15, 2024

Noting that younger generation is not really aware of the contributions of eminent biophysicist Dr G N Ramachandran, Former Director General of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Shekhar C Mande, today said Dr Ramachandran’s outstanding outputs are as profound, if not more, as Nobel Laureate CV Raman.

Dr Ramachandran, known as GNR in scientific circles, who discovered the triple helical structure of collagen, the most abundant protein in human body, in 1955, truly deserved the Nobel Prize, Dr Mande said while delivering Dr G N Ramachandran Memorial Lecture at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) here.

The event was organised as a prelude to the 36th Kerala Science Congress (KSC) being organised by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE). ‘Dr G N Ramachandran and the Development of Structural Sciences in India’ was the topic of the lecture.

An annual event, the ensuing edition of Kerala Science Congress is to be held at Government College, Kasaragod, from February 8 to 11.

Dr Mande said GNR was one of the foremost persons in structural sciences in the previous generation, besides being the founder of the field of molecular biophysics.

“The legacy of the rich developments happening in structural sciences in India traces to CV Raman, to whom GNR was one of the illustrious students. If you look at the breadth of GNR’s contributions to biophysics, it is probably more than that of his mentor,” Dr Mande said.

Dr Mande added that GNR is also known for his work that led to his creation of the ‘Ramachandran plot’ for understanding peptide structure.

In his presidential address, Prof K P Sudheer, Executive Vice President, KSCSTE and President, 36th KSC, said Dr G N Ramachandran was the pioneer of biological research in its various facets.

Prof Sudheer said this is one of the four Memorial Lectures planned as part of the KSC to pay tribute to eminent Kerala-born scientists, who have left an indelible mark on the scientific community.

RGCB Director Prof Chandrabhas Narayana said the scientific community considered it as a case of sheer discrimination that Dr Ramachandran missed the Nobel Prize despite his significant contributions to science.

Prof Narayana said the gifted physicist discovered triple-helix exactly around the same time when the DNA was discovered and alpha-helix was discovered by Linus Pauling, who was his friend and mentor.

“Dr Ramachandran, who also pioneered computed tomography (CT), switched from electrical engineering to biophysics after bumping into well-known physicist CV Raman. His life teaches us that there is no restriction on what field one can follow,” he added.

Dr S Pradeep Kumar, Member Secretary, KSCSTE and General Convenor, 36th KSC, welcomed the gathering and Dr Binuja Thomas, Principal Scientist, KSCSTE and Convenor, Focal Theme & Memorial Lecture, 36th KSC, proposed a vote of thanks.