Koppillil Radhakrishnan, Chairman of ISRO, featured in the Top 10 List of Journal Nature. The edition of the top 10 people that mattered in science in 2014 was released on 17 December 2014.
This is the first time in the recent past that the Nature chose an Indian working in India.
Achievements of K Radhakrishnan
In January 2014, the space organisation achieved spectacular success with the spaceflight of an Indian cryogenic engine and stage. India has been striving hard for some years to indigenously develop a cryogenic engine to improve the reliability of GSLV rockets and to take the rocket to greater heights.
On 24 September 2014 when India’s Mangalyaan successfully settled into Mars orbit, the country became the first and only nation to have done so on its maiden attempt. India also became the first Asian country to reach Mars.
The recent launch of the heaviest and tallest GSLV Mark III and the successful re-entry of the unmanned crew module were the other landmark achievements.
The other nine persons in the list are
• Andrea Accomazzo: A former test pilot who was flight director of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which has for the first time put a spacecraft in orbit around a comet and soft-landed Philae spacecraft on it.
• Suzanne Topalian: A clinician who helped pioneer PD-1 inhibitors, a new class of drug therapy for cancer. The drugs allow T cells in the immune system to freely attack tumours.
• Radhika Nagpal: An Indian-origin researcher who used biology-inspired robotics to get a swarm of 1024 robots to assemble and form various shapes.
• Sheik Humarr Khan: An infection disease expert from Sierra Leone, who became a part of a team of scientists who carried out the first genetic sequencing studies of the Ebola virus. He helped treat many Ebola patients as lead physician at Sierra Leone’s Kenema Government Hospital, but himself succumbed to the disease in July 2014.
• David Spergel: The astrophysicist who spotted an error in the evidence provided by a team of scientists that they had probably detected gravitational waves from space.
• Maryam Mirzakhani: the first female mathematician to win the Fields Medal, the equivalent of a Nobel in mathematics.
• Pete Frates: A former university baseball coach who started the Ice-Bucket challenge that gained worldwide attention in 2014 and raised 115 million US dollar for combating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuro-degenerative disorder.
• Masayo Takahashi: An ophthalmologist, who successfully tested the safety and efficacy of using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are adult cells genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell, to treat blindness.
• Sjors Scheres: A biologist who developed a software called RELION, which can produced extremely detailed 3D reconstructions of molecular machines which are components of molecules responsible for mechanical movement. This can help scientists visualize molecular machines more clearly than was possible before.
When: 25 december 2014