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chemist , politician , scientist , university professor , member of the Rajya Sabha

Prof. Asima CHATTERJEE, Indian Member of the Rajya Sabha. Sir Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award, 1961; PADMA BHUSHAN, 1975; Sir C.V. Ramon Award for Physical Sciences by UGC, 1982, 1985; Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), Banaras Hindu University and Burdwan University.


Asima Chatterjee (née Mookerjee) was born on 23 September 1917 in Bengal. An excellent student, Chatterjee grew up in Calcutta, attending school and subsequently enrolling at the Scottish Church College, of the University of Calcutta, graduating with honours in chemistry in 1936.


Asima Chatterjee graduated in 1938 with a master's degree in organic chemistry, followed by doctoral work at the University of Calcutta, where she researched the chemistry of plant products and synthetic organic chemistry.


Member, Rajya Sabha, since 1982. Member, Committee on Petitions, Rajya Sabha, 1984-1985. Member, Committee on Rules, Rajya Sabha, 1986-1987.

Member, House Committee, Rajya Sabha, since 1988. Professional career: teacher, distinguished in the field of Chemistry. Associated with Indian Council of Medical Research and Indian Academy of Science.

Prof, and Head of Department of Chemistry, Lady Braboume College, Calcutta, 1940-1954. Honorary Lecturer, Department of Pure Chemistry, Calcutta University, 194453. Reader in Chemistry, University College of Science, Calcutta University, 1954-1961.

Khaira Prof, of Chemistry, Calcutta University, since 1962. Dean of Faculty of Science, Calcutta University, 1969-1977. Head of Department of Pure Chemistry, Calcutta University, 1969-1980.

Project Co ordinator, Special Assistance Programme ‘Chemistry of Natural Products’, Department of Pure Chemistry, since 1972. Chairman, Board of Directors, Calcutta Chemical Company Limited, Calcutta. Chairman, Chemical Research Committee of CSIR, 1973-1975.

Convener, Chemistry Panel, UGC, 1980-1982. Principal Coordinator, Regional Institute (Ayurveda) West Bengal, under Union Health Ministry. Sisir Kumar Mitra Lectureship of Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, 1984.

Santanu Memorial Lectureship, 1987. Programme Co-ordinator, Centre of Advanced Studies on the Chemistry of Natural Products, University of Calcutta, 1985-1990. Member; SIGMA XI, United States of America.

Indian Chemical Society. Indian Association, for the Cultivation of Science (and member of the Council). Council of Indian Science Congress Association.

Chemical Society, London. Council, Calcutta University. Indian National Science Academy.

Editorial Board, Indian Journal of Chemistry. National Commission, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, since 1982. Review Committee, Central Universities in India, 1982-1983.

Board of Directors, Organon (research centre), Calcutta, since 1983. Governing Body, National Chemical Laboratories (CSIR), Pune. Central Advisery Board of Education, 1983-1984.

Committee on DSA/CAS constituted by UGC, 1985. Chemistry Panel, UGC, constituted in 1985. Board of Directors, Infar (Organon), 1985.

Executive Council, Vishwa Bharati. Executive Council, Jadavpur University. Executive Council, Burdwan University.


  • She was a Premchand Roychand Scholar of the University of Calcutta. She was the second woman after Janaki Ammal to be conferred Doctorate of Science by an Indian University, the University of Calcutta in 1944. From 1962 to 1982, she was the Khaira Professor of Chemistry, one of the most prestigious and coveted chairs of the University of Calcutta. In 1972, she was appointed as the Honorary Coordinator of the Special Assistance Programme to intensify teaching and research in natural product chemistry, sanctioned by the University Grants Commission (India). In 1960, she was elected a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi. In 1961, she received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in chemical science, in the process becoming the first female recipient of this award. In 1975, she was conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan and became the first lady scientist to be elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress Association . She was conferred the D Sc (Honoris causa) degree by a number of universities. She was nominated by the President of India as a Member of the Rajya Sabha from February 1982 to May 1990.


She was nominated by the President of India as a Member of the Rajya Sabha from February 1982 to May 1990.


  • Other Interests

    Recreations: music, cooking, painting.


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Doctor I.N. Mukherjee

Professor B. Chatterjee