Manapurathu Verghese George obtained his BSc degree (1948) from Madras University and MSc (1951) and PhD (1954) degrees from Agra University. His PhD work was carried out under the supervision of Professor PI Ittyerah of St John's College, Agra University. He spent several years as post-doctoral trainee with leading organic chemists, such as George Wright (Tornoto), Henry Gilman (Iowa), Melvin Newman (Ohio), DHR Barton (Imperial College, London) and Rolf Huisgen (Munchen). On returning to India in 1963, George joined the Chemistry Department of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur where he served till 1988. In 1988 Professor George moved to the Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR), Trivandrum. He was Visiting Professor for varying periods of time at the Radiation Laboratory of the University of Notre Dame (USA) between 1978 and 2001.
Academic and Research Achievements: A major theme of Professor George's research at IIT, Kanpur was the study of organic reactions under thermal and photochemical conditions and their mechanistic implications. Major contributions were made in several areas such as electron transfer processes, the study of organic reactions and functional group transformations, electrocyclic reactions of heterohexa-1, 3, 5-triene systems and phototransformations of dibenzobarrelenes and their synthetic utility. Study of transient intermediates involved in photoreactions using nanosecond and picosecond laser flash photolysis techniques became his major concern. His study also dealt with the chemistry of molecular materials with special functional properties. George has published over 200 research articles and mentored a large number of PhD students and post-doctoral Fellows.
Other Contributions: Professor George initiated a Photochemistry Research Unit at RRL (CSIR), Thiruvananthapuram. Together with Professor CNR Rao he took part in establishing the Foundation for Capacity Building in Science (FCBS) for the cause of science education. The FCBS lectures at different colleges, workshops for college chemistry students and teachers, and special programmes for school students formed part of his involvement. He served INSA Council during 1989-91.
Awards and Honours: Professor George is the recipient of SS Bhatnagar Prize (1973), CV Raman Award (1985), Professor TR Seshadri 70th Birthday Commemoration Medal of INSA (1990), TWAS Award (1992) and the Lifetime Achievement Gold Medal of the Chemical Research Society of India (2001). He is also a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1972) and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) (1993).