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Har Gobind Khorana, The Only Punjabi To Get A Nobel Prize! 

By: Jasmine Singh | December 8, 2021

The Nobel Prize is five separate prizes for as its definition goes, is awarded to "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to Mankind." Also Read: Wow! Hubby Gifts Maserati To Miss Pooja For Her Birthday

Attributed to Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist most famously known for the invention of dynamite, the Nobel Prize is one of the highest awards in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The Indian Noble Laureate list includes names like Mother Teresa (Peace), Amartya Sen (Economics), Abhijit Banerjee (Economics), CV Raman (Physics) and Rabindranath Tagore (Literature) among others. 

But did you know that from the 603 Nobel Prizes that have been awarded to 962 laureates in the six categories, there is only one person of Punjabi descent? It is none other than Hargobind Khorana.

Hargobind Khorana, born in a village of Multan, Punjab, British India, to Punjabi-Hindu parents, is the only Punjabi person to have ever earned a Nobel Prize in history! Also Read: 4 Times We Saw The Character Of Sardar Udham Singh Being Played On-Screen!

Born to a Patwari father in pre-Independent India, Khorana was a researcher and even served on the faculties of three universities in North America. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1966. He received several accolades including the National Medal of Science in 1987, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University and the Lasker Foundation Award for Basic Medical Research, both in 1969, the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1971, the Willard Gibbs Medal of the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society, in 1974, the Gairdner Foundation Annual Award, in 1980 and the Paul Kayser International Award of Merit in Retina Research, in 1987. 

Khorana was elected as Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1978. In 2007, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Government of India (DBT Department of Biotechnology), and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum jointly created the Khorana Program. In 2009, Khorana was hosted by the Khorana Program and honored at the 33rd Steenbock Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. Not only this, there is even a special Google Doodle created to celebrate his achievements! Also Read: Punjabi Wedding Playlist Without Which Every ‘Vyaah’ Is Incomplete!

Coming back to the honor, Khorana won the ‘Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1968’ for his research that explained the breaking of the genetic code and described how it operates in protein synthesis. He shared this award with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley, who were his co-scientists. Khorana sadly passed away in the year 2011 at the age of 89.

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