Google Doodle pays tribute to Indian Chemist Asima Chatterjee

Google Doodle pays tribute to Indian Chemist Asima Chatterjee

What's the story

Google has honoured Indian Organic Chemist, Asima Chatterjee on her 100th birthday anniversary.

Who was Asima Chatterjee?

Chatterjee was born on September 23, 1917, in Calcutta, in British India. She earned her undergraduate degree from Scottish Church College, and later her master’s and a doctorate of science from the University of Calcutta, all in chemistry.

In 1940, Chatterjee joined Lady Brabourne College in Calcutta, as the founder and head of the college’s department of chemistry. In 1944, she was appointed as an honorary lecturer in chemistry at University of Calcutta; and later took a role as a reader in the same department, in 1954.

Her academic work

Her research focused largely on medicinal properties of plants native to India and contributed to the development of drugs that treated epilepsy and malaria.

Asima Chatterjee received a master's degree (1938) and a doctoral degree (1944) in organic chemistry from the University of Calcutta. Her doctoral research focused on the chemistry of plant products and synthetic organic chemistry. Among her notable instructors at the time were Prafulla Chandra Roy and Satyendra Nath Bose. Additionally, she had research experience from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Caltech.

Chatterjee's research concentrated on natural products chemistry and resulted in anti-convulsive, anti-malarial, and chemotherapy drugs. She also discovered anti-epileptic activity in Marsilea minuta and anti-malarial activity in the plants Alstonia scholaris, Swertia chirata, Picrorhiza kurroa and Caesalpinia crista. These agents, however, have not been shown to be clinically competitive with the medications currently used for these conditions.

Her most notable work includes research on vinca alkaloids and the development of anti-epileptic drugs and anti-malarial drugs.

Asima Chatterjee was the first female scientist to be elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress, in 1975. She passed away on November 22, 2006.

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