Monday, January 16, 2012



AMARTYA SEN (b-1933) : Prof. Amartya Sen is the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics for
the year 1998, becoming the first Asian to have been honoured with the award. The Santiniketan-
born economist who is a pioneer in Welfare Economics has to his credit several books and papers on
aspects of welfare and development. An economist with a difference, Prof. Sen is a humanist. He
has distinguished himself with his outstanding writings on famine, poverty, democracy, gender and
social issues. The ‘impossibility theorem’ suggested earlier by Kenneth Arrow states that it was not
possible to aggregate individual choices into a satisfactory choice for society as a whole. Prof. Sen
showed mathematically that  societies could find ways to alleviate such a poor outcome.

SUBRAMANIAN CHANDRASHEKHAR (1910-1995) : The Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 was
awarded to Dr S. Chandrashekhar, an Indian-born astrophysicist. Educated in Presidency College,
Chennai, Dr  Chandrashekhar happened to be the nephew of his Nobel forbear, Sir C.V. Raman. He
later migrated to the United States where he authored several books on Astrophysics and Stellar
Dynamics. He developed a theory on white dwarf stars which posts a limit of mass of dwarf stars
known also as Chandrashekhar Limit. His theory explains the final stages of stellar evolution.

MOTHER TERESA (1910-1997) : The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa in 1979.
Albanian parentage, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born at Skopje, now in Yogoslavia. She joined the
Irish order of the Sisters of Loretto at Dublin in 1928 and came to Kolkata in 1929 as a missionary,
only to find the misery of the abandoned and the destitute. Concern for the poor and the sick
prompted her to found a new congregation, Missionaries of Charity. Having become an Indian
citizen, Mother Teresa served the cause of dying destitutes, lepers and drug addicts, through Nirmal
Hriday (meaning Pure Heart), the main centre of her activity. Her selfless service and unique
devotion, not only to helpless fellow-Indians but also to the cause of world peace, earned her and
India the first Nobel Peace Prize.

HARGOBIND KHORANA (b. 1922) : Hargobind Khorana was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine
in 1968. Of Indian origin, Dr Khorana was born in Raipur, Punjab (now in Pakistan). He took his
doctoral degree in Chemistry from Liverpool University and joined the University of Wisconsin as a
Faculty Member in 1960. His major breakthrough in the field of Medicine —interpreting the genetic
code and analysing its function in protein synthesis— fetched him the Nobel Prize.

CHANDRASHEKHAR VENKATARAMAN (1888-1970) : India’s first Nobel Prize for Physics was
claimed in 1930 by the renowned physicist Sir C.V. Raman. Born at Thiruvanaikkaval near Tiruchirapalli
in Tamilnadu, Raman studied at Presidency College, Chennai. Later, he served as Professor of
Physics at Calcutta University. Recipient of many honours and awards, including the title of ‘Sir’,
Sir C.V. Raman received the Nobel Prize for an important optics research, in which he discovered
that diffused light contained rays of other wavelengths—what is now popularly known as Raman
Effect. His theory discovered in 1928 explains the change in the frequency of light passing through
a transparent medium.

RABINDRANATH TAGORE (1861-1941) : Rabindranath Tagore was the first Indian ever to receive a
Nobel Prize. Popularly known as Gurudev, India’s Poet Laureate Tagore was born on 7th May 1861
in Kolkata. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his work Geetanjali, a
collection of poems, in 1913. Tagore wrote many love lyrics. Geetanjali and  Sadhana are among his
important works. The poet, dramatist and novelist is also the author of India’s National Anthem. In
1901 he founded the famous Santiniketan which later came to be known as Vishwabharati University.