Laser Eye Surgery Pioneer Honoured by President Obama

In 2012 Mr Rangaswamy Srinivasan along with two other scientists (Samuel Blum and James J Wynne) of IBM Watson were awarded with the national Medal of Technology and Innovation by the U.S.A. president Barack Obama.

Mr Srinivasan who was born in 1929 received both a Bachelors and a Master’s degree in science from the University of Madras in India and received this award for his contributions to laser eye surgery. In 1956 he obtained a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California.

After several years of post-doctoral work at Caltech and at the University of Rochester, Srinivasan joined the IBM Watson Research Centre in Yorktown Heights, NY in 1961. For the next thirty years he investigated the action of ultraviolet photons on organic molecules. In 1981 he discovered that a UV excimer laser could be utilized in such a way that living tissue could be etched without causing any thermal damage to the surrounding area. He named this process as Ablative Photodecomposition (APD)

Two years later in 1983, Rangaswamy joined forces with an ophthalmic surgeon to use this APD process for a surgery of the cornea. This subsequently led to the development of LASIK laser eye surgery. He wrote the first paper on Excimer laser that was published in the American journal of Ophthalmology in 1985.

Since 1990 he has continued this work at his own company, UVTech Associates. 
In addition to numerous awards received during his career at IBM, Dr. Srinivasan received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965, the 1997 National Award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society, the G.H. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest in 1997 and the 1997 Indian Scientist of the Year Award from the Association of Indians in the U.S.

In 1998, Mr Srinivasan was presented with the Biological Physics Prize by the American Physical Society for laser eye surgery.
In 2002 he was inducted into the US “Inventor Hall of Fame” and currently holds 21 US patents.

Incidentally Advanced Vision Care’s founder and clinical director, Mr CT Pillai comes from the same city and graduated from the same university in India as Rangaswamy Srinivasan.

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