Why ‘Venky’ Ramakrishnan took off his beard

The 2009 chemistry Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan in an interview with Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta for NDTV’s Walk the Talk programme, :

“For long I used to sport a thick, full beard because I was too lazy to shave. At airport security, they used to “randomly” pick me up for screening each time without fail.

“My friend and scientist John Kurien, also of Indian origin, said it was because of my beard. I refused to believe him. He said, ‘You are a scientist, go ahead and check it out yourself.’ ‘So I experimented and took it off and I haven’t been “randomly” screened since.”

Photograph: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan delivering the centenary lecture at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on Tuesday (Karnataka Photo News)