Awards Current Affairs 2017

British-Indian Shankar Balasubramanian knighted for his work on DNA sequencing

An Indian-origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University Shankar Balasubramanian received Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions.

He was recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing (also known as Solexa sequencing), described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades.

About Shankar Balasubramanian

  • Born on 30 September 1966 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He had received PhD for research on the Reaction mechanism of the enzyme Chorismate synthase from University of Cambridge
  • He is recognised for his contributions in the field of nucleic acids. He is scientific founder of Solexa and Cambridge Epigenetix.
  • At present, he is Herchel Smith Professorof Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry the University of Cambridge.
  • More recently, he has made major contributions to understanding the role of DNA-quadruplexes in cancer and invented a method for the sequencing of epigenetic modifications.
About Knighthood

It is one of the highest honours bestowed upon an individual in the UK and it doesn’t carry any military obligations to the sovereign. Persons receiving it are entitled with title ‘Sir’ before their name. The knighthoods are conferred by the Queen or a member of the Royal Family acting on her behalf in Britain. Queen usually presents insignia at the ceremony.

Solexa sequencing: It is an individual genome to be sequenced in a day or two at a cost of less than 1,000 pounds. Previously, sequencing the human genome took years of work and cost billions.

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Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh chosen for 2016 Jnanpith Award

Eminent modern Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh was chosen for the prestigious Jnanpith Award for the year 2016. He is the 52nd recipient of Jnanpith Award.

He is sixth Bengali litterateur to bag this prestigious literary award after Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay (1966), Bishnu Dey (1971), Ashapoorna Devi (1976), Subhash Mukhopadhyay (1991) and Mahasweta Devi (1966).

About Shankha Ghosh

  • Born on 6 February 1932 in Chandpur now in Bangladesh. He is prolific poet, critic and academician.
  • He is regarded a leading authority on Rabindranath in addition to being one of the most prolific writers in Bengali.
  • He is considered as a poet with an eye to social milieu and his poems record both his time and space in a rare poetic style. His poems are often laden with messages, but are free from polemics.
  • Some of his famous poems are ‘Adim lata-gulmomay’, ‘Kabir abhipray’, ‘Murkha baro, samajik nay’, ‘Mukh dheke jay bigyapane’, ‘Babarer prarthana’, Dinguli Raatguli and ‘Nihita Patalchaya’
  • His works have also been translated widely into several Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Assamese and Malayalam, as well as into some foreign languages.
  • He also been awarded Sahitya Akademi Award, Saraswati Samman, Narsingh Das Puraskar and Rabindra Puraskar among others.

About Jnanpith Award 

  • Jnanpith Award is India’s highest literary honour. Its name has been taken from Sanskrit words Jnana and Pitha which means knowledge-seat.
  • It was instituted in 1961 by Bharatiya Jnanpith trust founded by the Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain family that owns the Times of India newspaper group.
  • It is bestowed upon any Indian citizen who writes in any 22 official languages of India mentioned in VIII Schedule of Constitution of India and English.
  • Prior to 1982, the award was only given for a single work by a writer. But after 1982, the award is given for lifetime contribution to Indian literature.
  • The award carries cash prize of 11 lakh rupees, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom
  • Note: Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi was the first woman to win this award in 1976. She was honoured for her 1965 novel Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise), the first in a trilogy.

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