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GRD Angewandte.jpg
Born (1952-08-21) August 21, 1952 (age 65)
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India
Residence India
Nationality Indian Flag of India.svg
Alma mater University of Bombay, University of Illinois
Known for Crystal engineering, hydrogen bonding
Scientific career
Fields structural chemistry, X-ray crystallography
Institutions University of Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Science
Unified scheme for strong and weak hydrogen bonds in terms of their electrostatic, dispersive and covalent character. Published in Acc. Chem. Res., 2002, 35, 565-573
Crystal structure of sodium saccharin dihydrate: a model for a crystal nucleus reported by Desiraju and coworkers in Angewandte Chemie 2005, 44, 2515-2520
Organic crystals with anisotropy in interactions may exhibit bending in specific directions: This bending crystal of pyrazinamide was reported by Desiraju and co-workers in Crystal Growth and Design, 2006, 6, 2720-2731

Gautam Radhakrishna Desiraju (Telugu:గౌతం రాధాకృష్ణ దేశిరాజు) (born August 21, 1952) is an Indian chemist who works in the Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Till recently he was in the School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad. He works in the area of supramolecular chemistry and crystal engineering. Desiraju has played a major role in the development of crystal engineering over the last two decades. He, among others, has also been responsible in recent times for the acceptance of the theme of weak hydrogen bonding in structural and supramolecular chemistry. His books on crystal engineering (1989)[1] and on the weak hydrogen bond in structural chemistry and biology (1999)[2] are especially notable. He is one of the most highly cited Indian chemists and has been recognised by a number of awards such as the Alexander von Humboldt Forschungspreis and the TWAS award in Chemistry. [1]


Gautam Desiraju was born 21 August 1952 in Chennai, India, formerly Madras. Desiraju obtained his B.Sc. (1972) from St. Xavier's College, Bombay and Ph.D. (1976) from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he worked under the supervision of David Y. Curtin and Iain C. Paul. He worked between 1976 and 1978 in the Research Laboratories of Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY. From 1978 to 1979 he was a research fellow in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He joined the University of Hyderabad in 1979 as a lecturer and was promoted as reader in 1984 and professor in 1990. He spent a year (1988–1989) in the CR&D department of DuPont in Wilmington as a visiting scientist. He is a member of the editorial advisory board of Angewandte Chemie. He has been closely associated with the two journals devoted to the subject of crystal engineering, namely Crystal Growth and Design and CrystEngComm since their inception. He is a member of the executive committee of the International Union of Crystallography[2] and was a co-editor of Acta Crystallographica between 1994 and 2008. He served as a member of the council of the Indian National Science Academy between 2005 and 2008. He was the chair of the first Gordon Research Conference in Crystal Engineering, which was held in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire in 2010.

Major research contributions[edit]

Desiraju's major contribution to the subject of crystal engineering has been the development of the concept of the supramolecular synthon, which is a small sub-structural unit that is an adequate enough representation of the entire crystal structure of a molecular solid. The major problem in crystal engineering is that the prediction of a crystal structure from a molecular structure is very difficult, and not easily derivable from functional groups. Identification of supramolecular synthons simplifies this otherwise intractable problem so that some progress may be made in the design of a particular crystal structure. His review on this subject in Angewandte Chemie in 1995[3] now has more than 2000 citations and is a major landmark in the area. The supramolecular synthon concept is now widely used by crystal engineers notably in the design of pharmaceutical co-crystals, which are important from scientific and commercial viewpoints. Crystal engineering is effectively like supramolecular synthesis in the solid state, and there is a direct analogy between the supramolecular synthon of Desiraju and the molecular synthon that was proposed for organic synthesis by E. J. Corey.

Desiraju's second major contribution has been to recognise that weakly activated groups like the C-H group can act as donors of hydrogen bonds in molecular and biomolecular systems. These weak hydrogen bonds had been discussed sporadically since the 1930s, but it was only after the 1980s that the idea of a weakly activated group forming hydrogen bonds gained acceptance in the chemical community. Desiraju was among the few structural chemists (some others include Leslie Leiserowitz and Thomas Steiner) who argued in those early days that the C-H...O and other weak interactions have a hydrogen bond character.

Desiraju has authored more than 325 publications, and in addition to the two books on crystal engineering and hydrogen bonding mentioned above, he has edited three multi-author books on these topics in structural chemistry. He has guided the Ph. D work of more than 30 students over the past 30 years.

General writing[edit]

Desiraju has authored several commentaries on science, the evolution of chemistry as a subject,[4] emergence and complexity, and research habits and practices in various cultures. More recently he has written articles about the state of science education and research in India,[3] where he has identified problems and suggested solutions in situations that are, in part, expected in a country that is rooted in the traditional but yet aspires for the contemporary.

ISI Ratings[edit]

Each of his two authored books has more than 1500 cites each. His 1995 review in Angewandte Chemie has been cited more than 2000 times. Five of his >300 publications have been cited 500 or more times, 12 over 200 and 27 over 100. He has an h-index of 55 and this makes him one of the most highly cited scientists in India.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Desiraju, G. R.: "Crystal Engineering. The Design of Organic Solids", Elsevier, 1989.
  2. ^ Desiraju, G. R. and Steiner, T.: "The Weak Hydrogen Bond in Structural Chemistry and Biology", Oxford University Press, 1999.
  3. ^ Desiraju, G. R.: "Supramolecular Synthons in Crystal Engineering. A New Organic Synthesis", Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. Engl., 1995, 34, 2311.
  4. ^ Desiraju, G. R.: "Chemistry. The Middle Kingdom", Current Science, 2005, 88, 374.

Research Keywords[edit]

supramolecular chemistry, crystal engineering, hydrogen bond, intermolecular interactions, crystal structures, X-ray crystallography

External links[edit]

<!-- Metadata: see [[Wikipedia:Persondata]] --> {{Persondata |NAME= Desiraju, Gautam R |ALTERNATIVE NAMES= |SHORT DESCRIPTION= Indian chemist |DATE OF BIRTH= August 21, 1952 |PLACE OF BIRTH= [[Chennai]], [[Tamil Nadu]], [[India]] |DATE OF DEATH= |PLACE OF DEATH= }}