Published 1 July 2015 by Akshat Rathi
Five questions to a Nobel Laureate: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
How much sleep do you need and does it affect your work?
I usually go to bed about 10pm or so. I wake up between 6am and 7am. I can’t function very well without a good night’s sleep.
Are you addicted to something? Science cannot be the answer
I’m addicted to surfing news articles on the internet. That’s a very bad addiction, because most of the things I read are not very lasting. If I hadn’t read them, there would be no consequence whatsoever. But the internet has this addictive quality, and it’s one thing I’m trying to control.
What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
A perfect holiday would be either going on a hike or a bicycle ride, where I’m doing things outdoors and not thinking about all the stresses of life. Definitely away from email and work-related things.
Where do your best ideas come from?
Often they come when I’m engaged in some leisure activity. For instance, I’m on a walk or a bike, and suddenly without knowing I’m thinking about some problem that’s been bothering me. In these moments, a new approach might occur to me. Occasionally, good ideas will come from reading something I wasn’t expecting to read. And very occasionally, they come from people I meet, who may not be in my field but have an insight into my work that hadn’t occurred to me because the person’s an outsider.
What one advice would you give to young scientists?
Do something where you really care about the answer, because fads in science don’t last and the process of science can often be very tedious. You have to really care about the question and know the importance of finding the answer. That’s the most important thing, because it will keep you interested and motivated.