15 July 1937|
Dacca, Bengal Presidency, British Raj
(now Dhaka, Bangladesh)
March 28, 2017 (aged 79)|
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Known for||Studies on Optical, magneto-optical and quantum-mechanical studies on electronic structure of molecules|
Mihir Chowdhury FNA, FASc (15 July 1937 – 28 March 2017) was an Indian physical chemist and Professor and Head of Department of Physical Chemistry at Presidency College, Kolkata and the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS). He is known for his studies on the electronic structure of molecules using optical, magneto-optical and quantum-mechanical methods. He was an elected fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and the Indian Academy of Sciences. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the apex agency of the Government of India for scientific research, awarded him the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, one of the highest Indian science awards, in 1977, for his contributions to chemical sciences.
Mihir Chowdhury, born on 15 July 1937 in Dhaka of British India (presently in Bangladesh) to Jogendra Kumar Chowdhury and Indira couple, graduated in chemistry from Calcutta University in 1955 and completed his master's degree in 1957 from the same university. Enrolling for his doctoral research under the guidance of the renowned chemist and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar laureate, Sadhan Basu, he secured a PhD and moved to the US for his post-doctoral research which lasted three years, working at the Pennsylvania State University during 1961–62 and at the University of Chicago from 1962 to 1964. On his return to India the same year, he started his career as a pool officer at Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) and stayed there till 1966 when he joined Presidency College, Kolkata (the present-day Presidency University) as a faculty of the department of chemistry. He served the college for over a decade as a professor of chemistry.
It was during this time, he was caught between a student unrest in the college and had to suffer manhandling by a section of the agitating students. The incident resulted in his absence from the college for almost a year and subsequent resignation from the college. He was the head of the department of chemistry at Presidency College when he left the institution to return to Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science as a professor in 1966 and when he superannuated in 1998, he had served IACS as the head of the department of physical chemistry since 1976. Post retirement, he served as a senior scientist of the Indian National Science Academy, a position he held till 2006. He also continued his association with the post graduate teaching programs of Calcutta University and Presidency College on honorary basis.
Chowdhury and his wife Sunanda had a son, Arindam and a daughter, Avantika. The family lives in Kolkata.
Using optical, magneto-optical and quantum-mechanical methodologies, Chowdhury studied the electronic structure of molecules and widened the understanding of CT, exciton and parity forbidden transitions of metal complexes, diazines, bimolecules and rare earth complexes. He developed facilities to carry out his spectroscopic and fast kinetic experiments and studied various fields of spectroscopy such as laser, time-resolved and non-linear optics, and elucidated role of spin and magnetic field in the radical pair recombination process, circular dichroism of crystal field split components in cooled single crystals, and laser-induced fluorescence of jet-cooled large organic molecules and their hydrated clusters. His work on the Robert S. Mulliken's conjecture is reported to have assisted him to ratify for the first time that the CT band is polarised along the intermolecular axis.
Chowdhury documented his researches by way of over 155 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.[note 1] He was associated with a number science journals as a member of their editorial boards and guided 30 doctoral scholars in their studies. His involvement in the efforts to popularise science included a series of lectures on topics such as LASER- the wonderful toy, Hundred years of electron discovery, and Symmetry in Chemistry and Physics and his contributions have earned him mention from other authors.
Awards and honours
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research awarded Chowdhury the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, one of the highest Indian science awards, in 1977. He received the Silver Medal of the Chemical Research Society of India as well as the Lifetime Acahivement Award and the life membership of the Indian Society for Radiation and Photochemical Sciences in 2000. In 2005, Calcutta University awarded him the Eminent Teacher Award and the next year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Indian Chemical Society, followed by the Gold Medal of the Chemical Research Society of India, a year later.
Chowdhury was a recipient of honoris causa degrees of Doctor of Science of the Vidyasagar University (2007) and Presidency University (2013). He was a National Lecturer of the University Grants Commission of India in 1980 and the award orations he has delivered include Mitra Memorial Lecture of Delhi University (1988), K. Rangadhama Rao Memorial Lecture of Indian National Science Academy (1989), J. C. Ghosh Memorial Lecture of Indian Chemical Society (1997), Morris Travers Memorial Lecture of the Indian Institute of Science (1998), Baba Kartar Singh Memorial Lecture of Panjab University (1999), Sadhan Basu Memorial Lecture of Indian National Science Academy (2002) and the Mizushima-Raman Lectures in Japan (2003). The Indian Academy of Sciences elected him as a fellow in 1977 before he became a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy in 1980.
- Mihir Chowdhury, Sadhan Basu (1961). "Nature of Intermolecular Forces in Quinhydrone". a. 27.
- Mihir Chowdhury, Sadhan Basu (1960). "Some Notes on Molecular Complexes between Iodine and Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons". J. Chem. Phys. 32 (1450): a. doi:10.1063/1.1730939.
- Samita Basu; Liudmila Kundu; Mihir Chowdhury (October 1987). "The influence of trivalent lanthanide ions on the magnetic field effect of pyrene-dimethylaniline exciplex luminescence". Chemical Physics Letters. 141 (1–2): 115–118. doi:10.1016/0009-2614(87)80102-1.
- Tapanendu Kundu; Asok K. Banerjee; Mihir Chowdhury (1990). "Two-photon spectra of single-crystal gadolinium diglycolate". Phys. Rev. B. 41 (10911). doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.41.10911.
- Tapanendu Kundu; Asok K. Banerjee; Mihir Chowdhury (October 1991). "Erratum: Two-photon spectra of single-crystal gadolinium diglycolate". Phys. Rev. B. 44 (7769). doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.44.7769.
- Mihir Chowdhury (1996). "Selection Rules For Processes Involving Photon-Molecule Interaction: A Symmetry-Conservation-Based Approach Bypassing Transition Matrix Elements". J. Chem. Educ. 73 (8): 743. doi:10.1021/ed073p743.
- Please see Selected bibliography section
- Bhattacharyya, Kankan (25 April 2017). "Mihir Chowdhury (1937 – 2017)" (PDF). Current Science. 112 (8): 1765–1766.
- "Indian fellow". Indian National Science Academy. 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- "Brief Profile of the Awardee". Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "Fellow profile". Indian Academy of Sciences. 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "View Bhatnagar Awardees". Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "About The Department". Presidency College. 2016.
- "Former Presidency students liken recent campus violence to the turbulent 70s". Times of India. 26 April 2013.
- "Years of research reduced to ashes". The Telegraph. 30 October 2010.
- "Handbook of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize Winners" (PDF). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. 1999. p. 34. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- "Curriculum Vitae". IIT Kanpur. 2016.
- "Alumni details". IACS. 2016.
- "Programme" (PDF). NISCAIR. 2016.
- Rodney J. Bartlett (1997). Recent Advances in Coupled-cluster Methods. World Scientific. pp. 177–. ISBN 978-981-02-3112-5.
- "Chemical Sciences". Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. 2016. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- "Awards: Year – 2000". Chemical Research Society of India. 2016.
- "Life Members". Indian Society for Radiation and Photochemical Sciences. 2016.
- "Eminent Teacher Award". Calcutta University. 2016.
- "Awards: Year – 2007". Chemical Research Society of India. 2016.
- "Presidency University to honour Ranajit Guha, Mihir Chowdhury". Sify. 20 August 2013.
- "Mitra Memorial Lecture". Delhi University. 2016.
- "K. Rangadhama Rao Memorial Lecture". Indian National Science Academy. 2016.
- "Morris Travers Memorial Lecture". Indian Institute of Science. 2016.
- "Sadhan Basu Memorial Lecture". Indian National Science Academy. 2016.