Har Gobind Khorana: Why Google Honours Him Today

Posted January 10, 2018

Born in a village in Raipur of British India in 1922, Khorana was the youngest of five children of a village clerk.

Khorana's work uncovered how a DNA's genetic code determines protein synthesis - which dictates how a cell functions.

Google's logo today is a tribute to an Indian-American biochemist who played an important part in figuring out how DNA works. The image leads to a search for "Har Gobind Khorana" and includes the usual sharing icon to post the doodle on social pages or send via email.

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Just a few years after winning the Nobel, Khorana also constructed the first synthetic gene.

Har Gobind received the Nobel Prize in the field of medicine for his work on understanding and interpreting genetic code and how it functions in protein synthesis.

Fascinated by science since childhood, Har Gobind completed his schooling from a school in Multan that gathered under the tree. "Scholarships helped propel the budding scientist through his scholastic journey, obtaining his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1948", noted Google. His actual date of birth is unknown but is shown in documents as January 9, 1922.

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Throughout his famed career, Khorana never lost touch with his modest beginnings, which infused him with a sense of humility that was admired by his colleagues.

According to the biography of Khorana, he was married to Swiss national Esther Elizabeth Sibler - on whom the biography showered praises for bringing a "consistent sense of objective ... at a time when he felt out of place everywhere and at home nowhere".

Khorana lived in many countries throughout his life. He passed away at the age of 89 in Concord, Massachusetts, United States. He then studied at the Punjab University in Lahore - also now in Pakistan - from where he earned a master's degree in science, according to the official web site of the Nobel Prize. He worked under Professor Vladimir Prelog in Zurich for one year and continued his reserch. During this time he became intrigued with nucleic acids and proteins found in RNA.

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He became a USA citizen in 1966 and an MIT faculty member in 1970.