Har Gobind Khorana: The Nobel Laureate

Har Gobind Khorana

About Har Gobind Khorana

God has created humans. He has gifted some people with immense and incomparable talent. Though every human is unique in their own way, still there are some people who are extraordinary. Such people go further in life to make their country and their people feel proud of them.

They achieve so much that they are remembered posthumously. Their work and achievement are praised over decades and centuries. Har Gobind Khorana is one such person. He not only made his parents proud but also his country. People remember him as one of the Nobel Prize winners.

Har Gobind Khorana Early Life

Youngest among five siblings, Krishna Devi Khorana, and Ganpat Rao Khorana were parents of Har Gobind Khorana. Though poor, they were determined in giving their children the best possible education. He was a native of Raipur, a rural community present in Pakistan. The birth date of Har Gobind Khorana is believed to be on 9th January 1922.


His father was Patawari by profession, as village’s farming excise clerk during the rule of British India. Since there were no schools during those days in the village. Therefore, for the first four years, Har Gobind Khorana studied under a tree. However, this was the intended school in the village.

After attending the D.A.V. High School of Multan, Pakistan. He went on to study at the Punjab University of Lahore. Then in 1943, he took the degree of bachelor’s and the MSC degree in 1945.

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Khorana moved to England under the fellowship of the Government of India. He studied Organic Chemistry at Liverpool University. On the advice of Roger J.S Beer, he did Ph.D. For about a year, he was employed on an unpaid basis to work on alkaloid Chemistry.


Not capable to discover a career at his native place, Punjab, he went back to England. He went on to work on a companionship, with Alexander R. Todd and George Wallace Kenner. From 1950 to 1952, he stayed in Cambridge. After getting a designation in the Research Council of Columbia at the University of British Columbia, he shifted to Vancouver, Columbia along with his family.

During 1960, he received the designation of co-director of the Institute for Enzyme study at the Institute for Enzyme Research situated at the Wisconsin University at Madison. In 1966, he gained citizenship in America.

In the 1970’s starting, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry.

Married to Esther Elizabeth Silber in 1952, he had three kids, Emily Anne, Julia Elizabeth, and Dave Roy with his wife. Both of them met in Switzerland for the first time.

While he was working at the Wisconsin University, U.S, Khorana became the first Indian to receive Nobel Prize in physiology. In 2007, the Khorana program was created jointly by the Indian Government and the University of Madison-Wisconsin. The program was known as the Department of Biotechnology. The Polymerase Chain reaction is one of Har Gobind Khorana’s inventions.

He took his last breath on 9th November 2011 at Concord Massachusetts.

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