Dr Janaki Ammal was India’s first woman botanist. Awarded Padma Shri for her contributions in 1977, Dr Ammal showed unmatched scientific rigour. She chose her career and ambition over marriage at a time when it was unimaginable for women to do so. Dr Ammal was often the only woman in a room full of male academics and scientists. In addition to being a remarkable scientist, Dr Ammal was also an environmental activist and the only woman attendee at the “Man’s role in Changing the Face of the Earth” symposium in 1955.