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7 eminent Indian scientists in the field of research in botany

The Indian scientists involved in the botany research are as follows:

MAD SCIENTIST', Edward Ruscha | Tate

image source: tate.org.uk/art/images/work/AR/AR00051_10.jpg

7 eminent Indian scientists :

(1) S.R. Kashyap (1882-1934) :

Professor Kashyap is called Father of Indian Bryology. He was born in Punjab in 1882. He obtained his M.Sc. degree in Botany from Punjab and went to Cambridge University for further studies. After completing his research degree he joined Govt. College Lahore. Professor Kashyap was first secretary of Indian Botanical Society. He was President of Indian Science Congress in 1932. Although he did some work on Pteridophyta also, he is known mainly for the work on Bryophyta. Two of his books are very famous-‘Liverworts of Western Himalayas and Punjab Plains’ Part I (1929) (S.R. Kashyap) and Part II (1932) (Kashyap and Chopra). He discovered some new genera and many new species of Bryophyta. His theory of Retrogressive Evolution in Liverworts (Marchantiales) is well accepted by bryologists of the world.

(2) B. Sahni (1891-1949) :

Professor Sahni was born in Punjab in 1891. His field of specialization was Paleobotany, Due to his enormous contribution in this field, he is called ‘Father of Indian Paleobotany’. His main contribution is regarding the class Pentoxylae a gymnosperms of Jurassic period. Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany was established in 1946 at Lucknow because of his untiring efforts. This institute is well known throughout the world. Scientists from different parts of the world come to work in this institute. He established Paleobotanical Society in India in the year 1946, a journal of which (Paleobotanist) is published from Lucknow. Professor Sahni died in 1949.

(3) K.C. Mehta (1892-1950) :

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Professor K.C. Mehta was born in Amritsar in 1892, His field of specialisation was Plant Pathology. He is famous for his research regarding the recurrence of rust in the plains in India. He obtained his M.Sc. degree in 1914. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Botany at Agra College in 1915. In 1920 he went to Cambridge University where he worked on the Black Rust of Cereals. He was awarded Ph.D. degree by Cambridge University in 1922. In 1923 he became Professor of Botany at Agra College and soon after he was appointed Principal of that College. In 1941 he was awarded D.Sc. degree by Cambridge University.

On the basis of his researches on recurrence of Black rust in the plains of India he concluded that the infection (uredospore) spreads from Himalayas in the North and Nilgiri and Puleny Hills in the south. He presided over the session of Indian Botanical Society in 1939.

(4) P. Maheshwari (1904-1966) :

Late Prof. P. Maheshwari  was Head of Botany Department at University of Delhi. His research work on the Embryology of plants is well known throughout the botanical world. Prof. Maheshwari was born at Jaipur in 1904. He obtained his M.Sc. in 1927 and Ph.D. in 1931 from Allahabad University. He joined the staff of Botany Department of Agra College, Agra in 1930 and become Associate Professor in 1935. Afterwards he joined Allahabad University (1937 to 1939), Lucknow University (1939) and became reader and head of Botany Department at University of Dacca in the end of 1939. In 1949 he was appointed as Professor and Head of Botany Department at University of Delhi. He continued to hold this post until his death (1966).

Prof. Maheshwari was president of Indian Botanical Society in 1951 and became founder and first president of society of plant morphologists in 1951. He was editor of the journal Phytomorphology. ‘An introduction to the Embryology of Angiosperms’ written by Prof. Maheshwari is a widely recognised text book on the subject. Prof. Maheshwari in 1963 edited and published the book ‘Recent Advances in Embryology of Angiospersm’. In recent years he was taking interest in the experimental side of embryology and established a new branch experimental embryology.

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Prof. Maheshwari was second Indian Botanist to be awarded F.R.S. by Royal Society of London in 1965.

(5) A.K. Sharma :

A.K. Sharma  was born on 1924; Calcutta, West Bengal D.Sc. (1955), University of Calcutta.

Specialization :

Cytogenetics, Cytochemistry, and Cell Biology. Research Achievements : Sharma’s contributions include : new techniques for studying the physical and chemical nature of chromosomes, adopted all over the world for plant, animal and human systems, the latest technique being orcein banding for repetitive DNA; repeat DNA analysis as a measure of genetic diversity; a new concept of speciation in asexual organisms; clarification of the chemical nature of plant chromosomes through techniques specially evolved; inducing division in adult nuclei through certain metabolic precursor for studying chromosomes in relation to differentiation; reorientation of angiosperm taxonomy ;a new concept of dynamism of structure and behaviour of chromosomes in plant, animal and human systems; using embryo irradiation and in-vitro cultures for generating variability; the concept of dynamic DNA; the tissue culture as a means for gene variability and conservation endangered species. Sharma has shown that the chemical composition of chromosomes varies during organogenesis, differentiation and reproduction, with the basic genetic skeleton being maintained.

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Position :

Professor Centre of Advanced Study on Cell and Chromosome Research, Department of Botany, University of Calcutta.

Learned and Professional Societies :

President, Indian Society of Cytologists and Geneticists (1976-78), Indian Botanical Society (1980), President, Indian Science Congress (1981), Padma Bhushan (1983).

(6) M.S. Swaminathan :

Born 7 August 1925; Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Ph.D. (1952), University of Cambridge, U.K.; D.Sc. (h.c.) from 33 Universities.

Specialization :

Genetics, Cytogenetics, Plant Breeding, Sustainable Agriculture.

Research Achievements :

Swaminathan’s early researches (1947-60) included the elucidation of the origin and differentiation of cultivated potato (Solarium tuberosum Linn.), cytogenetic interrelationships among Triticum spp, induction of mutations for qualitative and poly genie traits in wheat, methodologies for detecting and assessing indirect effects or radiations with particular reference to the nutritional safety of irradiated foods. His later researches (1960-80) had as their main focus the conservation of biological diversity with particular reference to rice and wheat, modification of plant architecture and growth rhythm for raising yield ceilings in wheat and rice and the development of crop production strategies which can lead to higher yields per unit by land, water, energy, and time. Recent researches (1980-93) relate to rice breeding and biotechnology, impact of climate change on crop productivity and the conservation of coastal biodiversity with particular reference to mangrove ecosystem.

Positions :

Director General, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines (1982-88); Member, Agriculture and Science, Planning Commission (1980-82); Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (1979-80); Director General, ICAR and secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (1972-79); Director, Indian Agriculture Research Institute New Delhi (1966-72), President Indian Science Congress 1976 F.R.S.

(7) R.P. Roy :

Born 1920; Gangapur, Bihar. Ph.D. (1953), University of Cambridge, UK.

Specialization :

Cytogenetics, Plant Breeding, Tissue Culture, Cytotaxonomy.

Roy’s work on genomic (chromosomal) analysis of the species of Aegilops led to the identification of species involved in the origin and evolution of bread wheats. He detected an excellent sex determination genetic system in cucurbit (Coccinea indica). Established the relative role of X and Y chromosomes in the determination and manifestation of sex by raising a hierarchy of polyploid forms, namely triploid, tetraploid, pentaploid and hexaploid as also trisome, tetrasome, double trisome, etc. Located the specific chromosome region carrying the male maturity and fertility genes. Employed tissue culture to raise haploid, aneuploids, and sex-aberrant types to score specific genes and to locate mutant genes in the mutagenic treated materials. Pioneered cytogenetic investigations in an important timber sal (Shorea robusta), S. assamica and a dozen other allied timber genera. Did genome analysis by raising interspecific hybrids in the fern genus Adiantum.

Positions :

Senior Professor of Botany and Dean of Science, Head of Department and Coordinator, UGC Centre of Special Assistance in Cytogenetics CSIR, Emeritus Scientist (1982), all at Patna University.

Awards and Honours :

President, Indian Science Congress (1972).

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