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B/N 958 – Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma

The Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts will issue a new postage stamp in the denomination of Rs. 15.00 on 28th March, 2019 to commemorate Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma.


Date of Issue 28th March, 2019
Denomination Rs.15.00
Catalogue No: CSL 2321
Stamp Designer Pulasthi Ediriweera
Stamp Size: 30mm x 41 mm
Sheet Composition: 20 stamps per sheet



First Day Cover

Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma

Vidya Jyothi Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma, is one of the most renowned Scientists in the world, was born in Galle Sri Lanka. He obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Melvin Calvin at Berkeley Laboratories USA. From 1971 until his sudden demise, he served at the University of Maryland at College Park as Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry as well as the Director of the Laboratory of Chemical Evolution pioneering in the field and spotlighting Sri Lanka to the world. He also served as a distinguished Professor at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This illustrious son of Sri Lanka led the Moon Soil Analysis Laboratory at NASA, USA under the Apollo Space Mission. The Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy elected him as its vice president and appointed him Chairman of the International Network of Science Centres in developing Countries and the President of the Third World Foundation of North America. His contribution to the development of international programmes was acknowledged by awarding him the first distinguished International Service Award by the University of Maryland. Among the many awards received by Professor Ponnamperuma the "Alexander Oparin Gold Medal" for the 'Best sustained Programme' on the origin of life awarded by the International Society for the study of the origin of life is remarkable. The presence of this great son of Sri Lanka, was so conspicuous all over the world as to be nominated to the prestigious Pontical Academy of Sciences, a body represented by world-renowned scientists who excelled in mathematical and experimental sciences. In recognition of his service to Sri Lanka, he was conferred the honour of Vidya Jyothi by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Professor Ponnamperuma's involvement in the Sri Lankan scientific arena began in 1984 when he became the Science Advisor to the late Sri Lanka President J. R. Jayewardena. He was appointed as the Director of the Institute of Fundamental Studies where he was instrumental in setting up the permanent home of the institute in the Hantana Hills with a modern laboratory complex to pursue basic research to improve the fundamental understanding of science across the broader community while training high end graduate students to take on academic leadership in the country. At the IFS, he reached out to schools, professional associations, the media and the local community. He also served as the first Director of the Arthur C Clarke center for Modern Technologies Sri Lanka. He worked simultaneously on several fronts covering science policy, institution building, fund raising, capacity building and public engagement in Sri Lanka.

Nearly three decades after his sudden departure from our soil, his efforts to bring fame to Sri Lanka through Science and Technology discoveries will echo in our hearts forever.

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