India-born scientist and Nobel laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has been confirmed as President of the Royal Society, the world’s pre-eminent organization for the advancement of learning.
Sir Venkatraman will officially take up the position in December.
Born in Tamil Nadu and raised in Gujarat, Sir Venkatraman was educated in India and the United States.
He is one of the world’s leading molecular biologists and shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for discovering the precise structure of ribosomes – the molecular ‘machines’ that manufacture proteins inside all living cells.
Awarded a knighthood in 2012, Sir Venkatraman is the Deputy Director of the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003, and is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (the German Science Academy) and a Foreign Member of the Indian National Science Academy.
Among the other accolades he has received is the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour.
Founded in 1660 the Royal Society has previously been helmed by the likes of Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton and Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics.
Sir Venkatraman is the first Indian-born president of the Society.
He told the BBC: “I think in some ways the Royal Society, ever since its inception, has reflected the best traditions of openness in Britain I think of Britain as a particularly open and tolerant society.”