Continued from www.scienceindia.in/home/view_blog/22

Do you know the name of the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry who was also responsible for identifying   the place “Bangalore” for establishing “Indian Institute of Science”, one of the most famous science temples of  India? 

He is none other than  SIR WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916), the Winner of 1904 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the first noble gas “Argon” (named after the Greek word ‘argos’ meaning lazy) because it was completely unreactive.

During 1896 the late Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata (JN Tata), the merchant-prince of Bombay wanted to establish a science institute in India  and solicited help of an expert chemist from England.  Then the Royal Society of England deputed Sir William Ramsay to India in response to Tata’s invitation. That’s how William Ramsay has contributed significantly for the establishment of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore in 1909.

Dr Ramsay also recommended his student Dr. Morris William Travers ­ as the First Director of IISc.  Dr. Travers was responsible for the foundation work of IISc's library block (presently,the main building).

Ramsay is a British Chemist and  invented argon along with his collaborator Lord Rayleigh, and it is so interesting that Rayleigh   has also received the Nobel Prize in Physics in the  same year 1904. Ramsay’s   work in isolating argon, helium, neonkrypton and xenon led to the development of a new section of the periodic table. Ramsay carried out his research in University of Glasgow (1874-80), University College of Bristol (1880-87) and University College of London (1887-1913).

Can you imagine that a scientist of his stature used to enjoy glassblowing and made many of his lab equipments all by himself as needed and exactly to specifications! Doesn’t this fact teach us convincingly once more that real heroes in Science have no egos in their lives?

His students and colleagues nicknamed him as the “The Chief” and deeply respected him for his charming, witty and generous nature.

Ramsay used to tell that the country which is in advance of the rest of the world in chemistry will also be foremost in wealth and in general prosperity.