Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar obtained his DSc degree (1921) from the University of London, and Doctorate (hc) from Oxford, Punjab, Delhi, Banaras, Lucknow, Allahabad, Patna, Agra and Saugor Universities. His specialization was in physical chemistry and magnetochemistry. He was Professor of Chemistry, Banaras Hindu University (1921); Professor of Physical Chemistry; Director, University Chemical Laboratories (1924); Dean, University Instruction, University of Panjab, Lahore; Director, Scientific and Industrial Research (1940); Secretary, Atomic Energy Commission (1947-48); Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research (1951); and Chairman, University Grants Commission.
Academic and Research Achievements: Bhatnagar's research was mainly in physical chemistry, particularly, magnetochemistry and emulsions. His research was of great help to Steel Brothers and Co., which, by virtue of addition of an Indian gum, lowered the viscosity of mud suspension and stabilized the suspension against the flocculating action of electrolytes. He was responsible for designing a magnetic balance, known as Bhatnagar-Mathur balance, to determine changes in the diamagnetic susceptibilities that are usually small a piece of research done for Adam Hilger & Co. The magnetic method was used to study complex problems concerned with (i) colloid formation, (ii) solutions including solid solutions, (iii) atomicity of elementary molecules like those of mercury, iodine and selenium under different conditions, (iv) allotropy, and (v) photochemical decomposition and photocopy. He made important and extensive researches on the conversion of emulsions by electrolytes.
Other Contributions: Bhatnagar was a dynamic scientist and administrator. As the Director of Scientific and Industrial Research, he was largely responsible for the establishment of a chain of national laboratories in the country.
Awards and Honours: Bhatnagar was an Officer (of the Order) of the British Empire (OBE) and was Knighted (1941). He was a recipient of Special Award of Attock Oil Co, Rawalpindi and Padma Vibhushan. He was a Fellow of National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; Royal Society of London; Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; and Indian Chemical Society (sometime President). The prize instituted by CSIR in his name is rated as one of the top honours an Indian scientist covets. He was President of Indian Science Congress Association (1945) and of Indian National Science Academy (1947-48).
Indian National Science Academy has instituted 'The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Medal' in his memory.