Pritabha Gai is a pioneer of advanced in-situ electron microscopy, whose ingenuity, intelligence and altruism have helped advance chemistry across the world. Growing up in India, Pratibha was inspired by the likes of Marie Curie to fly in the face of gender stereotypes in her pursuit of the sciences. She was awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1974. She went on to become a specialist in the field of electron microscopes and in 2009, after decades of research, built the first microscope capable of perceiving chemical reactions at an atomic level.
Rather than patent her invention, Pratibha offered it to the scientific community at large, valuing scientific advancement over her own wealth. Today she carries on her work as co-director of the York JEOL Nanocentre at the University of York and has remained a vocal advocate of women in science.
Quotes and Praise
"One day I was testing my instrument and with my own eyes, for the first time in the world, I saw atoms working in a chemical reaction, changing their atomic structure, and it was absolutely thrilling."
2010 Gabor Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics (2010)
L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award Laureate for Europe (2013)
Appointed Dame for Services to Chemical Sciences and Technology (2018)
Fellow of: The Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society