Indian-Origin Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan awarded UK’s Order of Merit

UK’s Order of Merit is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the armed forces, science, literature, art, or for the promotion of the culture.

UK's Order of Merit
UK's Order of Merit

Order of Merit: Indian-born Nobel laureate Professor Venki Ramakrishnan has been awarded the prestigious Order of Merit by Britain’s King Charles III. The honor recognizes Ramakrishnan’s distinguished service to science.

The UK-based molecular biologist is among the six appointments made to the historic order by the late Queen Elizabeth II before her death in September 2022 and the first to be appointed by King Charles III.

UK’s Order of Merit is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the armed forces, science, literature, art, or for the promotion of the culture. As per Buckingham Palace, the individuals were chosen by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in early September 2022.

Who is Venki Ramakrishnan?

Venki Ramakrishnan was born in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. He studied biology in the United States before moving to the UK.

Venki Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for his work on ribosomal structure and was knighted by the Queen in 2012. Ramakrishnan was also the President of the UK’s Royal Society from November 2015 until November 2020.

Most recently, Venki Ramakrishnan has been using electron microscopy to visualize ribosomes in action in higher organisms.

Britain’s Order of Merit: Six appointments made to the order

Apart from Venki Ramakrishnan, the new appointments are- David Adjaye, Ghanian British Architect; Elizabeth Anionwu, the UK’s first sickle-cell nursing specialist; Floella Benjamin, the broadcaster who chairs the Windrush Commemoration Committee; Margaret MacMillan, a Canadian who is an Oxford University History Professor; and Paul Nurse, the Director of the Francis Crick Institute who is also a Nobel laureate and Venki’s immediate predecessor as Royal Society President.

UK’s Order of Merit

1. When the Order of Merit was founded in 1902 by Edward VII, it included military figures such as Lord Kitchener and Earl Roberts, and scientist Lord Kelvin. Nursing reformer Florence Nightingale was appointed as the first female member of the Order of Merit in 1907.

2. The number of people who belong to the Order of Merit is restricted to 24, and the honor, established by Edward VII in 1902, is bestowed on those in Britain and the Commonwealth who have made an exceptional contribution to the arts and sciences as well as the public life.

3. Vacancies happen after the deaths of the members of the order. They are given a red and blue enamel badge, which reads, “For Merit”.

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