Prabhat Kumar Bhattacharyya obtained his PhD degree (1949) from the University of Illinois, USA. His specialization was in Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry. He was Assistant Director, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune (1964-66); Chief Controller of R&D, Antibiotics Project, Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Rishikesh (1966-70); and Professor of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (1970-82).
Academic and Research Achievements: Bhattacharyya tackled problems, which required a combination of both biochemistry and organic chemistry. He made extensive studies on vitamins, antibiotics, carnitine (vitamin Bτ), microbiological transformations of terpenes, synthesis of aldosterone from Kurchi alkaloids, chemical approaches to drug allergy, affinity systems as probes for drug-membrane interactions, and enzyme models. Also standing to the credit of Bhattacharyya is: independent discovery of chloromycin, endomycin, and a new reaction-displacement of a nitro group by acyloxy group under Friedel-Craft's reaction conditions. He contributed chapters to two textbooks.
Other Contributions: Bhattacharyya served as Member of Development Councils for Organic Chemical Industries and Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, and of Scientific Advisory Committees of many CSIR laboratories. He wrote science fiction in Bengali. Bhattacharyya was a Member of Indian Chemical Society and Guha Research Conference; and also served as Member of INSA Council (1980-82).
Awards and Honours: Dr Bhattacharyya received CSIR Silver Jubilee Award (1973); Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Medal (1975); and Acharya PC Ray Medal of Indian Chemical Society (1979). He was a Fellow of Sigma Xi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Phi Sigma (USA), and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.