Scientist awarded prestigious prize

Genius invents super microscope

Posted: 20.03.13
Scientist awarded prestigious prize

An Asian woman Scientist has reached the status of ‘genius’ with her invention of a super microscope, which can be used to discover new forms of medication and green energy. Professor Pratibha Ghai has been named the L’Oréal - UNESCO For Women In Science European Laureate for 2013. She is one five exceptional women scientists from around the world, one from each continent, who will be recognised for their contribution to science at an awards ceremony, held at UNESCO’s Paris HQ on 28th March 2012.
Professor Pratibha made the breakthrough in 2009 with a microscope that increased resolution to the atomic level. This 2009 model has currently been implemented by manufacturers and scientists world-wide.
Proud of her incredible achievement, she told us her thoughts on receiving the accolade: ‘This award is for everyone in the scientific community and all my work colleagues, it is everyone’s award.’

Her enthusiasm for the award is also evident in the fact she chose not to patent her invention, allowing the whole industry to benefit from it.
The revolutionary microscope is worth £250milion which she could have earnt if she had chosen to patent it. She explained why she chose not to: ‘I didn’t patent my invention as I wanted all of society to benefit and all of the scientific community.’  

Speaking about how her Microscope works which took two decades of research, she said: ‘It’s a very special microscope which allows you to see what is happening at the very grass root level of life, which happens at an atomic level.’ 

She went on to explain: ‘My microscope can be used to understand the body, medicine and work in creating new antibiotics, as well as understanding pigmentation within the skin, the most latest development is discovering the use of algae as a green fuel, all this is being done via my technology.’

The issue of Women in Science is something which is also close to Professor Gai. She told Asiana, ‘Although the scientific scene may be male dominated I would tell women to keep going and aim high. I overcame difficulties like a lack of women in my physics department, through dedication, passion and focus. I want to really make young girls interested in science and am willing to support that cause in any way I can.’ 

The L'Oreal - UNESCO partnership is a long-term commitment to recognising women in science and supporting scientific vocations.
This award will be the 15th of its kind and will recognise in particular the achievements of Women in Science. Professor Gai is one of five women chosen from around the continent to receive the prestigious award and a sum of £63,500.
The UNESCO Director General - Irina Bokova said of those receiving the awards: ‘These five outstanding women scientists have given the world a better understanding of how nature works. Their pioneering research and discoveries have changed the way we think in various areas of the physical sciences and opened new frontiers in science and technology. Such key developments have the potential to transform our society. Their work, their dedication, serves as an inspiration to us all.’  

by Raj Mehta

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