If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Asima Chatterjee and ...

It is wonderful to wake up and see Google celebrate the centenary of Dr. Asima Chatterjee, a scientist who is either unknown to or forgotten by her compatriots.
Asima Chatterjee is fortunate to have been just forgotten.
Subhash Mukhhopadhyay, a physician and a fellow Bengali scientist who independently created the second "test-tube baby" in the world almost single-handed in his primitive lab, was the target of intense envy of his fellow scientists and the all-knowing bureaucrats warming the chairs in the government secretariat in Kolkata.
Under the watchful eyes of a communist government lead by another "great" Bengali, a Commission was formed to verify the claims of Dr. Mukhopadhyay. The Commission, which included an atomic physicist among other luminaries, rubbished Mukhopadhyay's claims. Mukhopadhyay was humiliated as a fraud and transferred to a TB hospital. (I think, but will have to verify, the atomic physicist was the head of the panel.)
While we are proud that the world today recognises Asima Chatterjee's basic research in chemistry which has contributed to development of chemotherapy for treatment of cancer, let us also remember another Indian scientist of her generation who couldn't take it any more and committed suicide in 1981.
Durga, the baby who got her life thanks to Dr Mukhopadhyay, and Louise Brown of England, the first test-tube baby in the world, were both born in 1978, Durga 67 days later.
Twenty-nine years after Mukhopadhyay's death, in 2010, Robert G. Edwards, an English scientist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for developing the technique of in vitro fertilization.

23 September 2017

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