The Road to Excellence – Paved by Women in Science and Technology

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 “[It shall be the duty of every citizen of India] To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” – Article 51 A(h) of the Indian Constitution

In India’s path to technological advancement, many prominent scientists have played an important role. While recounting the names of these prominent scientists and visionaries, however, the names of path-breaking women get left behind. According data from the United Nations, less than 30% of scientific researchers worldwide are women. However, despite deep rooted gender related discrimination and challenges, along with lack of recognition in the scientific community, women across the world have been making significant contributions in the field of science – paving the path for technological progress and defining our collective present and future.

Today, on the occasion of National Technology Day, let’s take the opportunity to learn more about Indian Women Scientists, whose life stories are both – inspiring and heart-warming.

  1. Janaki Ammal

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Edavaleth Kakkat Janaki Ammal was a pioneering Indian Botanist who is famously known for her extensive research in cytogenetics (the study of chromosomes and inheritance) and phytogeography. She is credited with adding greater sweetness to Indian sugarcane! She made remarking contributions to genetics, evolution, phytogeography and ethnobotany, and for this, has also been honoured with the Padma Shri. She happens to be one of the first Indian women scientists to receive this civilian honor, way back in 1977.

  1. Gagandeep Kang

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Gagandeep Kang has often been described as India’s ‘vaccine godmother’. She has worked on diarrhoeal diseases for about three decades now and has also helped develop Rotavac, India’s first vaccine against the rotavirus. She is known for her inter-disciplinary research studying the transmission, development, and prevention of enteric infections and diseases in children in India. She is also the first Indian women to have been elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

  1. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi

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Born on March 31, 1865, in Poona, Anandibai Joshi was the first female physician in India. Her birth name was Yamuna. At the tender age of nine, she was married to Gopalrao Joshi, 20 years elder than her. Her husband turned out to be progressive and a supporter of education of women. At the age of 14, Anandibai gave birth to a child, who couldn’t survive for long. This incident inspired her to become a physician.

  1. Indira Hinduja

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Dr. Indira Hinduja is a renowned gynaecologist, obstetrician and infertility specialist. She is credited with the development of the Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) technique. India’s first GIFT baby was born on 4th January, 1988. She also delivered India’s s second test-tube baby in August 1986. In 2011, she received a Padma Shri from the Govt. of India.

  1. Vijaylakshmi

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B. Vijayalakshmi is not a very well-known name in the scientific community, but she was a brilliant physicist. Her work was primarily focussed on relativistic equations of higher spin in external electromagnetic and gravitational fields. Her novel ideas laid the groundwork for many later developments. The unfortunate fact, however, is, that her research went on while she was undergoing chemotherapy for treating cancer, which ultimately took her life at the young age of 33.

These women have laid down a path to inspire next generation into action. They are the lamps along the way, in the glow of whose lights, whole humanity stands to prosper. Our sincere salute all who’ve relentlessly pursued the path of science, leading to development of technology which defines our life and existence today.