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

Current Affairs

  • Indian-origin Nobel laureate Professor Venki Ramakrishnan has been awarded the Order of Merit — an exclusive mark of honour conferred by the British sovereign — in recognition of his distinguished service to science.
  • The Order of Merit is a big deal in Britain, where it has been called “the most prestigious honour on planet earth”, and its bestowment offers an opportunity to revisit the little details that make it a rare accolade.
  • Venki, who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with two other scientists in 2009 and was president of the Royal Society from 2015 to 2020, has been appointed to the Order of Merit by King Charles.
  • The number of people who belong to the order is restricted to 24, and the honour, established by Edward VII in 1902, is bestowed on those in Britain and the Commonwealth who have made exceptional contributions to the arts and sciences as well as public life.
  • Vacancies occur after the deaths of members of the order. They are given a red-and-blue enamel badge, which reads, “For Merit”.
  • This time there were six who were chosen by the Queen before she passed away on September 8.
  • Apart from Venki, the new appointments are David Adjaye, a Ghanaian-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.

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