On Monday the 27th January, I was in Mahbubnagar, at Palamuru University, to attend the Annual Convention of the Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences (APAS), to keep an old commitment, namely to deliver the Sitamahalakshmi Memorial Lecture. And I was fortunate in at least two ways…
The first was that I got to see- after too many years- Ranga, aka Professor S Ranganathan who taught us Organic Chemistry so brilliantly at IIT Kanpur. Ranga, who is now at the IICT in Hyderabad, retired from Kanpur after decades of teaching generations of chemists. His classes were wonderful, and he was one of the first to seriously try to get some of us interested in biology- I remember him and Balu (Professor D. Balasubramaniam, also now in Hyderabad, and at the LV Prasad Eye Institute) inviting a number of people in ’73 or ’74 to try to educate us philistine M Sc students of the exciting things that were going on in biological chemistry. Some of my classmates took the bait, but it didn’t work out in my case… But more of that in another post, maybe.
The second was that I got to see seven of our colleagues being inducted into the Akademi at one go- the largest contingent from anywhere to be so elected! In the alphabetical order of the handout, here they are :
M. Ghanshyam Krishna of the School of Physics was elected Fellow. His work focuses on the growth, characterization and applications of thin films.
Subramanyam Rajagopal of the Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life Sciences was elected Fellow. (OK, so the photo is an older one, and he does not sport the mustache now…) His group is working on bioenergy related to photosynthesis and phytomedicines. His major research contribution was on abiotic stress effects on photosynthesis apparatus of cyanobacteria, algae and higher plants.
Samar Das, of the School of Chemistry, was also elected Fellow. The focus of his research effort is to synthesize metal-oxide based inorganic compounds and to exploit their host guest, ion exchange and catalytic properties.
Pradeepta Panda of the School of Chemistry was elected an Associate Fellow. His work is on the design and synthesis of various porphyrins.
S Srilakshmi of the UCESS was elected an Associate Fellow. She is a geophysicist, and the only woman in the group.
S Srinath of the School of Physics was elected an Associate Fellow. His areas are Magnetism, Multiferroics, Oxides, Nanomaterials and Thin films.
S Venugopal Rao of theACRHEM was elected an Associate Fellow. He does a lot of things, as you can see on his homepage, but to mention a few areas of his interest, Semiconductor Nonlinear Optics: Optical frequency conversion techniques [Second Harmonic Generation, Sum Frequency Generation, Difference Frequency Generation], Optical Parametric Oscillators/Amplifiers in the near- and mid-infrared spectral region and construction and characterization of femtosecond/picosecond Ti:sapphire lasers.
And in addition, there were many other colleagues from the UoH there: they had already been elected to the Akademi in earlier years. The President, Dr Ch. Mohan Rao, being an alumnus, made the presence of the University even stronger, and drove home the point that we are the preëminent research university in AP. And, of course, also in the country. Nice!