Interview – Prof S K Sopory Padma Shri-2007; S.S.B-1987


Sudhir Kumar Sopory or S K Sopory or known by few just as Sopory is an Indian educationist, plant physiologist, scientist and former vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru Universitty, New Delhi. Prof Sopory is an elected Fellow of several major Indian science academies including four major science academies i.e. IAS, INSA and NASI and NAAS and International ‘The World Academy of Sciences’ (TWAS) and is a recipient of many honours, including the 1987 Shanti Swarup Bhatangar (SSB) Prize, the highest Indian award in the science and technology categories and The Government of India awarded him the India’s fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2007, for his contributions to science and technology.

Professor Sopory has many notable awards to his name and been member of several national committees of DBT, DST, ICAR, CSIR, UGC, academic bodies of over two dozen universities and institutions, Science and Engineering Research Council of DST; and Council Member of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. He served(s) on the Editorial boards of many national/international journals. He was Vice President, INSA (2004-06), Society of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry and Secretary, Plant Tissue Culture Association of India.

Sir, would you like to share some personal background?
I belong to a family of Kashmiri Pandits. My grandfather was an engineer and father had done Master in English, from the University of Lahore, and served the Govt of J& K, as Deputy Commissioner. I was around four years old when my father passed away. We were raised up by my mother with support from my Uncle and elder brother. After finishing my Masters from J&K University, I came to Delhi to look for a job, that was the need for the family at that time.

However, having failed in a few competitive tests, and some interviews, I finally took up my research work at DU and finished Ph.D under the supervision of Prof. S.C Maheshwari. For some reasons I also had to take a break from DU and joined Meerut College where I taught for about 5 months. I felt proud that my Ph.D viva exam was conducted by Prof M.S. Swaminathan, with whom I maintained communication all through, and had an opportunity to visit him, at his invitation, when he was DG at IRRI, Phillipines. After my studies I joined JNU and in between I visited many Institutes to upgrade my skills and knowledge.

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