Vidya Jyothi Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma was appointed as the Director of the Institute of Fundamental Studies by President J. R. Jayewardena. He was instrumental in setting up the permanent home of the Institute in the Hantana Hills with a modern laboratory complex. Professor Ponnamperuma was an eminent scientist and 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, appointed him Chairman of the International Network of Science Centres in developing countries and the President of the Third World Foundation of North America.
In appreciation for his contribution the global scientific community, a commemorative first day cover was issued on 28th of March, 2019 in the presence of the Deputy Postmaster General of Sri Lanka, Mr D.L P. Rohana Abhayaratne, Deputy Postmaster General of Central Province, Ms. Chamisha de Silva, the Director of NIFS, Prof Saman Seneweera and the chief guest, Prof Parakrama Karunaratne.