Jnanendra Nath Chatterjea obtained his DPhil degree (1949) from the University of Oxford, UK and DSc (1960) from Patna University. His area of specialization is organic chemistry. He was Professor of Organic Chemistry (1960-65), University Professor and Head (1965-72), Patna University, Director, Indian Lac Research Institute, Ranchi (1972-75), and Head, Chemistry Department (1975-83) and Dean, Faculty of Science, Patna University (1975-77). He was a Visiting Professor at Magadh University (1983-84) and Bhagalpur University (1984-85).
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Chatterjea devised original methods for the synthesis of condensed benzofurans such as brazans (related to natural products), dibenzofurans, and dinaphthofurans and other condensed derivatives. Unambiguous methods, many of whom are novel, were worked out for the synthesis of brazanquinones. Investigations on acylation of isocoumaranones led to interesting rearrangements, resulting in the revision of the structures of several compounds. Short and efficient synthesis of coumestans had been carried out leading to coumesterol, iso-and dihydropsoralidine, tri-O-methylwedelolactone, dihydroerosnin and other coumenstans. Theses methods were adopted by other chemist. New synthesis of homopterocarpin and structural analogues had been carried out. The synthesis of iscochromene was achieved for the first time. The chemistry of the fungal metabolite, sclerotiorin was studied and total synthesis of sclerotinol and aposclerotaminin acid carried out. Work on isocoumarin, thio-isocoumarin and isccarbostyrils led to the discovery of cases of trans-alkylations involving aromatic alkoxyl groups. The work led to the revision of structures of several compounds.
Awards and Honours: Chatterjea was a recipient of Dasgupta Medal of Indian Chemical Society (1975); HK Sen Memorial Medal of Institution of Chemists, India (1982); and NRDC Award (1986). He was a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Institution of Chemists (India); Indian Chemical Society and Royal Institute of Chemistry (London).