January 9, 2018
Har Gobind Khorana’s 96th Birthday
Today’s Doodle celebrates Har Gobind Khorana, an Indian-American biochemist whose passion for science started under a tree in the small village of Raipur, India, and grew into Nobel Prize-winning research on nucleotides and genes.
Dr. Khorana was born in 1922 as the youngest of five children. His father instilled the importance of learning by helping his children to read and write, which wasn’t common for villagers at the time. Scholarships helped propel the budding scientist through his scholastic journey, obtaining his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1948.
Dr. Khorana conducted research at universities in England, Switzerland, and Canada, and it was at the University of Wisconsin that he and two fellow researchers received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968. Together, they discovered that the order of nucleotides in our DNA determines which amino acids are built. These amino acids form proteins, which carry out essential cell functions.
His accomplishments didn’t stop there. Fewer than five years later, Dr. Khorana made a second scientific breakthrough when he constructed the first synthetic gene. He received a host of awards during his lifetime, including the National Medal of Science.
Bangalore-based illustrator Rohan Dahotre drew today’s Doodle, which celebrates Dr. Khorana’s pioneering work in understanding our DNA.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Khorana!
Early drafts of the Doodle below: