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Outcry by People in India Against Deprivation of Professor Mrinal Thakur from the Chemistry Nobel Prize for Over Two Decades

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New Delhi, August 09, 2022: The Director of Photonic Materials Research Laboratory of Auburn University in the USA, Professor Mrinal Thakur has stated that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) is violating academic norms, moral principles and human rights. While They are in tacit agreement with Professor Thakur that the fundamental basis as given in the document preserved for the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is incorrect / nonfactual, they have not taken any initiative to make the requisite corrections and to provide due credit to Professor Thakur.

The 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the discovery of “Conductive Polymers”. But The RSAS only recognized those who (Heeger, MacDiarmid and Shirakawa) discovered “Conjugated” Conductive Polymers and failed to recognize Professor Thakur who discovered “Nonconjugated” Conductive Polymers, around the same timeframe.

This violation can also be gauged from the fact that though he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 21 times, the RSAS did not give him his due credit which is a straightjacket violation of academic norm and also a case of blatant violation of human rights.

What is more, the scientists who allegedly plagiarized Professor Thakur’s theory were credited with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2014) and Professor Thakur was left out.

“Nonconjugated Conductive Polymers”can effectively absorb radioactive iodine emitted from nuclear reactors and can help save millions of human lives across the globe.

Professor Thakur stated, by not recognizing the field of radiation-shielding by Nonconjugated Conductive Polymers the RSAS may be depriving humanity to avail of the protection against serious illnesses including thyroid cancer that radioactive iodine causes.

He cautioned that the recent rise in demands for the potassium-iodide pills throughout the European Union (EU) following fear of damage of nuclear reactors due to the Ukraine-Russia war should have been reason enough for the RSAS to give due recognition to the discovery of the “Nonconjugated Conductive Polymers” and their radiation-shielding capability.

As it appears at the website of The Nobel Foundation,“key property of a conductive polymer is the presence of conjugated double bonds along the backbone of the polymer. In conjugation, the bonds between the carbon atoms are alternately single and double.” Also, “For a polymer to be able to conduct electric current it must consist alternately of single and double bonds between carbon atoms”.These fundamental statementsare nonfactual / incorrect since these disregard existence of “Nonconjugated” Conductive Polymers and their impact.

Professor Thakur used Coulomb Correlation theory which applies to both Nonconjugated and Conjugated Conductive Polymers while other theories developed only considering Conjugated Conductive Polymers may lead to incorrect conclusions.

The Nobel Foundation (RSAS) is in tacit agreement with Professor Thakur. The Indian Press stressed that the Foundation must take immediate action to acknowledge and provide credit to Professor Thakur since it has been a long overdue.

The Indian Press warned that there is deep public discontent over the following critical issueswhich have remained unaddressed:

  • No credit was given to Professor Thakur in 2000 Nobel Prize and afterwards for his discovery of “Nonconjugated Conductive Polymers.”
  • Royal Swedish Academy is yet to correct the document preserved at the Nobel Foundation website despite repeated requests. The document states a polymer must be conjugated to be electrically conductive – which is nonfactual and the corresponding theory as given is incorrect,
  • Professor Thakur’s research funding was abruptly stopped in 2003 as he brought up the incorrectness and inequity regarding the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • Professor Thakur stakes claim to the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry as well since “Super-resolved Fluorescence Microscopy” (2014 Nobel in Chemistry)is primarily based on earlier nonlinear optical experimental and theoretical studies performed by Professor Thakur and colleagues on organic materials.

Providing protection against nuclear radiation including radioactive iodine is one of the major applications of nonconjugated conductive polymers. Radioactive iodine is particularly dangerous since it remains as a vapor at ordinary temperature and can travel long distances over a very short time. It causes thyroid cancer and various other ailments. Applying the polymer shields around the nuclear reactors (standard and modular) is of critical need to protect lives and the environment – said Professor Thakur.The nuclear waste facilities which store spent nuclear fuel rods must also be insulated using this polymer technology.

Professor Thakur did not receive credit in the 2000 Nobel Prize. Again in 2014, the Nobel Committee did not give him credit for his equation and the underlying fundamental experimental and theoretical works in nonlinear optics that were critical for super-resolved fluorescence microscopy!

Scientific Explanation of Thakur’s Equation

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Betzig, Hell and Moerner for their works on “Super-Resolved Fluorescence Microscopy.”

The central equation used in this work is based on nonlinear optics works and phase-space-filling model developed by Professor Thakur and coworkers. No reference of that is given in the 2014 Nobel document preserved at the Nobel Foundation website.

Detailed nonlinear optical coefficients as a function of wavelength, excited-state lifetimes, two-photon absorption and the detailed saturation dynamics have all been measured by Professor Thakur and coworkers using femtosecond-duration pulses and their theoretical interpretations have been established. The excited state lifetime as measured is about 1.8 ps. In the off-resonant domain the response is instantaneous.

As discussed in such reports, (phase-space filling model applied to PTS-polydiacetylene crystal), the fractional change in oscillator strength, δf/f is related to the number fraction of electrons (excitons) involved in the transitions is as given in the following:δf/f = – N/Nswhere Ns is the saturation density.

For organic materials, energy levels remain essentially unchanged when light is incident on it. Using the phase-space filling model as above verified by detailed experimental measurements (Thakur et al. 1985-88), the equation relating the resolution and laser light intensity (Thakur’s Equation) that one arrives at isΔ = λ/(2nsinα(1 + I/Is)1/2). HereΔ stands for resolution, I stands for laser light intensity, λ is wavelength, n is refractive index,α is semi-aperture angle and Isis saturation intensity. More details of the equation have recently appeared (Thakur, J. Macromol. Sci., PAC 2016 and references therein).

This is the central equation, Equation 3 given in page 5 of the 2014 Nobel document preserved at the Nobel Foundation website and is derived based on phase-space filling model and the statistics involved in the emission process. No reference for this equation was provided in that document.Professor Thakur received no credit from RSAS in 2014 Nobel Prize!