Remembering EK Janaki Ammal, India’s first woman PhD in Botanical Sciences

Source: The post is based on the article “Remembering EK Janaki Ammal, India’s first woman PhD in Botanical Sciences” published in the Indian Express on 5th November 2022. 

What is the News? 

The 125th birth anniversary of Janaki Ammal was recently observed.  

Who was Janaki Ammal? 

Janaki Ammal was born in 1897. She was a pioneering botanist and the first Indian woman to be awarded a PhD in the botanical sciences.  

She is known widely for her contributions to science – in the field of genetics, cytology, evolution and more. 

She worked on making several intergeneric and interspecific hybrids involving sugarcane and related grass species. These works were highly significant as they have been responsible for creating sugarcane hybrids that yielded sweeter sugar. 

She was invited by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to reorganize the Botanical Survey of India in 1951, which explores the plant resources of the country and identifies plant species with economic virtue.  

She served as the head of the Central Botanical Laboratory in Allahabad and as an Officer of Special Duty at the Regional Research Laboratory in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Her association with the Save the Silent Valley movement – a campaign to stop a hydroelectric project from flooding the Silent Valley forest in Palakkad district of Kerala is also well-known.  

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