History

college1With the progress of time the department of Chemistry of the University of Calcutta has experienced a remarkable development and has grown into one of the topmost national teaching and research institutes in Chemistry. As a pioneer of academic deliberation and research activity, the department has greatly contributed to produce talents who are leading the national and global science. As you may know, our department started functioning since the foundation of the University College of Science and the foundation stone was laid by the great visionary Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, when the then Vice-Chancellor, on 27th March 1914. Prior to this, post graduate classes in Chemistry had been conducted at Presidency College. The University College of Science at 92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata (now renamed as Rashbehari Siksha Prangan) undertook the program of teaching the subjects of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics in 1914. The establishment of the University College of Science, which took a vital role in the spreading of education and research in Science throughout the subcontinent, was aided generously by the great philanthropists and nationalists of that time, particularly Sir Rashbehari Ghosh, Sir Tarak Nath Palit and Kumar Guruprasad Singh of Khaira. Teaching and research in Chemistry at our department was initiated by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, Profulla Chandra Mitter, Jnan Chandra Ghosh and Jnanendra Nath Mukherjee. Among other eminent personalities who joined the department later and enriched its scholarly activities were Jogendra Chandra Bardhan, Priyadaranjan Ray, Pulin Behari Sarkar, Bhupendra Nath Ghosh, Prafulla Kumar Bose, Jnanendra Nath Roy, (Mrs.) Asima Chatterjee, Sadhan Basu, Debabrata Banerjee and Sunil Kumar Talapatra. Through their wisdom and scholarship, these great academicians set up a tradition of excellence, that will be cherished forever. The year 2014 is very special to all of us – it is the centenary of post-graduate teaching and research in chemistry and we are going to celebrate it towards the end of this year.

rashbihariOur department has a long tradition of carrying out high-quality research in several areas of Chemistry. Outstanding contributions have been made in the fields of Natural Product Chemistry, Organic Synthesis, Heterocyclic Chemistry, Coordination Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Colloid and Surface Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry. In addition, emphasis is being given to the frontiers of chemistry like Organometallic Chemistry, Catalysis, Synthetic Methodology, Selective Bond Activation, Drug Development from Natural Products, Green Chemistry, Surfactant Chemistry, Fabrication of Organic and Inorganic Materials, Organic Electronics, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Photochemistry, Carbohydrate Chemistry, Protein Engineering, Bio-Organic, Bio-­Inorganic and Bio-Physical Chemistry, Crystal Engineering Computational Chemistry, Virtual Nanoscience and many other frontier research areas. Collaborative research activities are also going on with intra- and inter-departmental faculty members of this university, sister Universities and research institutes in India and abroad.

Rajabazar Science College, KolkataIn recognition of contributions made by the department toward research, the University Grants Commission selected it to operate a Special Assistance Program on Natural Products in 1972. Since 1987, this had been upgraded to a venture of Advanced Studies of Natural Products. An UNESCO-UNDP program operated in the Department for a number of years. Under this program, a number of instruments were procured. A COSIST program (UGC) operated during the period 1995-1999 in the thrust areas of Photo-Physical Studies, Coordination Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry. In 2000, the Department was selected to participate in DST-FIST program and had successfully completed the project; and subsequently, a new DST-FIST project was sanctioned of about rupees two crore which was a major boost up for instrument facility in this Department. We have also received UPE UGC scheme for GC-MS instrument. The department now has excellent computer facilities. The development of computer facilities started with the four PCs in 1997, purchased with COSIST grants. Since then, several additional computers and work stations have been acquired. Twenty five branded computers (HP) were purchased for our M. Sc. students from the DST-FIST program. Internet network facilities are available all over the Department and its upgradation to ultrafast optical fiber networking internet system is also completed. Now, all classrooms and seminar rooms are having AC and video facilities for teaching and presentations. Recently, we have also received rupees two crore funding from DST PURSE program.

The Department is quite well equipped with several sophisticated instruments for research. These include 300 MHz NMR (Bruker), single crystal XRD (Bruker), GC-MS (Perkin Elmer), FT-IR Spectrophotometer, Fluorescence Life-Time Measurement, Fluorimeter (Perkin Elmer), UV-vis Spectrophotometer (Hltachi), HPLC (Shimadzu), Polarimeter (Perkin Elmer), UV-VIS-NIR Spectrophotometers (Perkin Elmer), React IR (Mettler Toledo), DLS (Malvern), Dye Laser, Nd-YAG Laser, and many other important instruments. Procurement of ESI-MS (Waters) system from DST PURSE program has already been initiated.

From the academic session 2007-2009, the Department has introduced a Semester System with a major modification in the M. Sc. curriculum and examination system. New courses like Modern Spectroscopic techniques, Nano-Chemistry, Advanced Synthetic strategies, Green Chemistry, Molecular Magnetism, Computational Chemistry, Statistical and Numerical methods, Bio-Inorganic/Organic/Physical and Bio-Analytical Chemistry have been introduced, along with the project works and seminar presentations. The syllabus and course structure have also been modified from time to time. It is heartening to note that our M. Sc. students are performing excellently in national competitive examinations such as NET (UGC-CSIR) and GATE (IIT). They are also qualifying the GRE entrance examination for joining the Ph. D. programs abroad every year. Our department has also adopted the UGC norms for the Ph. D. registration of the Research Scholars by introducing a one semester course work. International symposiums were organized in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013. 2014. A number of books and a large number of scientific papers (> 100 per year) are published in the international (Nature Publishing Groups, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, Wiley, Royal Society of Chemistry, Science Direct etc.) Projects and schemes have been financed from time to time in recent years by D S T, C S I R , U G C and other giant funding agencies.

Our department has taken appropriate measures in recent years to commemorate the pioneering contributions made by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, the doyen of Chemical Science in India. A museum was set up in 1997 in the historic room of the department in which he used to live and work. The articles used by him, his books and some instruments have been preserved in this museum. The Acharya P. C. Ray Research Award has been revived since 1997, after a lapse of several years. The department organizes a seminar on or around 2nd August, the birthday of the great scientist. In all its endeavour, the department strives to live up to the lofty ideals set up by its founders and the eminent personalities who helped it thrive.