Dr Gagandeep Kang, the executive director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, became the first Indian woman to be to be elected as the Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in the 359-year-old history of the academy.
Dr Kang, who is also a professor at Vellore’s Christian Medical College, was elected with 51 eminent scientists as FRS on 16 April.
She is among the 10 new foreign members and one Honorary Fellow for their exceptional contributions to science.
Mumbai-born Padma Bhushan awardee Dr Yusuf Hamied was the Honorary Fellow elected to FRS.
The 57-year-old researcher is credited with building the national rotavirus and typhoid surveillance networks. She has helped established laboratories to support vaccine trials. The rotavirus vaccine prevents lakhs of diarrhoeal deaths among children.
Indian scientists elected to FRS include Srinivasa Ramanujan (1918) and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1944). Ardaseer Cursetjee Wadia (1841) was the first Indian to become part of FRS.
Dr Kang also joins the esoteric ranks of Isaac Newton (1672), Charles Darwin (1839), Michael Faraday (1824), Ernest Rutherford (1903), Albert Einstein (1921), Dorothy Hodgkin (1947), Alan Turing (1951) and Francis Crick (1959).
The list also includes Indian-origin Canadian-American mathematician Manjul Bhargava, who was awarded the Fields Medal, described as the Nobel Prize in Mathematics, in 2014.
Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, tweeted his congratulations to Dr Kang.
“Congratulations to Gagandeep Kang (ED @THSTIFaridabad , Manjul Bhargava (Member, PM’s STIAC)and all others elected as Fellows @royalsociety . Kang is the first woman Fellow from India, if I am not mistaken,” he wrote.
Congratulations to Gagandeep Kang (ED @THSTIFaridabad , Manjul Bhargava (Member, PM’s STIAC)and all others elected as Fellows @royalsociety . Kang is the first woman Fellow from India, if I am not mistaken. pic.twitter.com/4aTCKvVz26
— Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India (@PrinSciAdvGoI) April 17, 2019
Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, the former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the president of the Indian National Science Academy also tweeted his congratulations.
“Congratulations Gagandeep Kang, the first Indian woman scientist from India getting elected as FRS in 360 years of history of Royal Society! Very proud of you!” he wrote.
Congratulations Gagandeep Kang, the first Indian woman scientist from India getting elected as FRS in 360 years of history of Royal Society!
Very proud of you! https://t.co/d5i9wLfjOF
— Raghunath Mashelkar (@rameshmashelkar) April 18, 2019
THSTI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.
The FRS was formally founded on 28 November 1660 as the Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge. It is the oldest scientific academy in the world.