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Nobel laureate Venkatraman miffed at emails from India

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 18:51

New Delhi: Nobel laureate Venkatraman
Ramakrishnan has expressed disenchantment with people from
India "bothering" him "clogging" up his email box and dubbed
as "strange" their sudden urge to reach out to him.

"All sorts of people from India have been writing to me,
clogging up my email box. It takes me an hour or two to just
remove their mails," he said.

He said the deluge of emails had buried important
communications from colleagues or from journals concerning
papers we have in press.

"Do these people have no consideration? It is OK to take
pride in the event, but why bother me?" the 57-year-old
Indian-American scientist wondered in an email interview.

"There are also people who have never bothered to be in
touch with me for decades who suddenly feel the urge to
connect. I find this strange," said Ramakrishnan, who shared
this year`s Nobel Prize for Chemistry with two others.

He expressed anguish over "all sorts of lies" published
about him in a section of the media that he went to school and
pre-Science in Chidambaram, the Tamil Nadu temple town where
he was born in 1952.

"People I don`t know, for example a Mr Govindrajan, claim
that they were my teachers at Annamalai University which I
never attended, since I left Chidambaram at the age of three,"
Ramakrishnan clarified.

Ramakrishnan said that it was a good thing if his winning
the Nobel Prize encouraged people to read about the work, read
books and take interest in science.

"But I, personally, am not important. The fact that I am
of Indian origin is even less important. We are all human
beings, and our nationality is simply an accident of birth,"
he said.

On reports that he has been shortlisted for a job in
India, Ramakrishnan said he was in no mood to leave his
laboratory in Cambridge where he was enjoying his work.

"Nobody has approached me about an offer to work in
India. However, I can categorically state that if they did so,
I would refuse immediately," he said.

He was reacting to questions about reports that his name
was being considered for the post of Director of the country`s
premier lab Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology.

"I cannot imagine a more enjoyable place to work than in
the Laboratory of Molecular Biology where I work," he said
citing a "variety of professional and personal reasons" for
continuing the work at Cambridge.

Ramakrishanan said he was a visiting professor at the
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, to which he makes
trips for a couple of weeks every other year.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 18:51
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