Later if not sooner.
An elite Outlook jury of five well-known scientists and two science writers believes it’s a toss-up between Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, C.N.R. Rao, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni and Ashoke Sen respectively, to bring home the next science Nobel.
- Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, 51, director, Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California in San Diego, discovered the now well-known phantom limb syndrome. Named by Newsweek as one of the hundred most prominent people to watch for in the present century, he has explored a diverse set of phenomena, the neurological basis of visual illusions and the perception of art.
‘Rama’, as Ramachandran is better known, has answered questions no scientist would seriously address. Why do we laugh? Why do we become depressed? How do we make decisions, deceive ourselves and dream? Why do we believe in God? Why are we inclined towards the arts and poetry? But his work on the phantom limb or the pain in an arm or leg that’s been amputated is of seminal importance. People who complained of pain in a severed limb used to be called ‘crazy’ and were sent off to psychiatrists but Rama revealed that we’re all born with a map in the brain to which the sensory surfaces of our bodies are connected.
- C.N.R. Rao, 69, former director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore, is the honorary president and Linus Pauling research professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in the same city. He has been at the frontiers of superconductivity, buckyballs and nanoparticles and is...