Deserving Indian scientists but deprived of Nobel Prize

Why no Indian has won a single Nobel Prize in science after independence? At the time when Dr Hargobind Khurana won the Prize for medicine in 1968, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar won for physics in 1983 and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan won Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2009, they were NRIs and residents of America not India. It was back in 1930 when Sir C.V. Raman an Indian resident won the Nobel Prize for Physics for “RAMAN” effect. But after him not even a single Indian has won this prestigious award in science. Do we lack in quality or the reason is something else?

Indian scientists and their work is not noticeable and recognizable at global level as compared to the work of the scientists from West. Dr Chandra K Mittal, biotechnology professor living in Houston, Texas in an article has made it clear that many times Indian scientists do not get the required ‘ownership’ and ‘credit’ for their inputs in the original work. Mittal and Ferid Murad jointly did the work on the discovery of nitric oxide signalling system, but only Ferid Murad was awarded with the Nobel Prize not MIttal. Connection plays a significant role while selecting the name for Nobel Prize.

Jagadish Chandra Bose was the first to show wireless signaling in 1895. He also made a radio wave receiver called the ‘coherer’ from iron and mercury and showed it in London and Kolkata. But Nobel Prize in Physics for wireless communication was given to Guglielmo Marconi in 1909.

Satyendranath Bose sent his work on the statistics of quanta of light photons to Albert Einstein. In 1924 the paper was published in Zeitschrift der Physik. This gave rise to Bose-Einstein statistics and ‘Bosons’. Later on work based on this won the Nobel Prize but the originator had never been awarded with the Prize.

Pioneer work in Quantum Optics and coherence was done by E C George Sudarshan but Nobel Prize was awarded to Roy Glauber in 2005.

G N Ramachandran was the most justified scientist for Nobel Prize for the work on bio-molecular structures and the triple helical structure of collagen but he was never awarded the Nobel Prize.

Narinder Singh Kapany was the most deserving Nobel Prize winner for the work related to the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication. But the award was given to Charles Kao. The word ‘Fiber Optics’ was also coined by Kapany in 1960.

Name of Indian-American physicist E C G Sudarshan had been suggested six times but he did not get the Prize. Homi Bhabha’s name was suggested as many as four times in 1950s but again he did not receive Nobel Prize. JC Bose, SN Bose are few other names in the list of Indian scientists who did not receive the required recognition.

It is very sad and astonishing that Indian scientists and their work is not recognized at International level.

But apart from this there is something wrong with respect to research and development in India after independence. In US research and development is still a part of Universities. Scientific discoveries from Universities travel to create technology and products. But in India, Universities which were responsible for research before independence no longer receive the required funds. Group of labs were formed under different scientists after independence. The top most scientific institutions receive most of the government funding for scientific development. On the other hand, Universities which used to work in this direction started getting fewer funds. This resulted in a great decline.

For quality, Universities and National Labs in India must work with close proximity to each other. Research and development must be revived in the Universities. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010 stated red tapism and political interference as the major reasons for the decline in the quality of Indian science.

Real innovative brains of India either prefer to leave India or deprive of funds and information to carry out research and development. Most of the Indians are just interested in doing some secured job. Indians need to be more aggressive. We generally leave at the turning and at the most challenging point. Developed countries cross those challenging points and win. Much qualified students who are interested in research and development do not get direct seats into research labs and Universities in India. Political interference or strong backing play their role. Hence we are wasting our talent and mind.

We must have a hunger to do the best. Education must be made available to every Indian child irrespective of gender, caste and creed.