Hira Lal Nigam did his BSc (1944), MSc (1946) and DPhil (1949) degrees from the University of Allahabad, the PhD (Inorganic Chemistry) (1958) from University of London working at William Ramsay Chemical Labs under (Late) Sir Ronalds S Nyholm, the doyen of Chemistry. He joined the Chemistry Department at Allahabad University (1947) and served there for 35 years as Lecturer, Reader and then Professor. He had a short stint as Professor and Head, Chemistry Department, Indore University where he organized the postgraduate classes. Subsequently, he served as Vice-Chancellor, APS University, Rewa (MP) (1982-88). He was awarded the DSc (hc) (1998) by CSJM University, Kanpur.
Academic and Research Achievements: Nigam has made significant contributions in metal-ligand bonding chemistry. In course of his work on metal carbonyls using o-phenylene-bis-dimethyl di-tertiary arsine as ligand, he was able to stabilize for the first time Fe(I) and seven coordinate Mo(II). He did pioneering work on X-ray absorption spectroscopy of coordination compounds, exploiting the technique for metal-metal exchange interaction, mixed-valence states of complexes, and correlation of spectral properties of complexes with their paleographic behavior. He has authored over 150 research papers and a pioneering review of NS complexes in activation of small molecules. He mentored 22 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Professor Nigam served as Chairman (1983-87), Environmental Planning and Co-ordination Organization (Rural Wing), Government of Madhya Pradesh and was Member, Council of Science and Technology (1972-78), UP Government. He had long association with International Conference of Coordination Chemistry as sessional President. He was Founder Editor of National Academy Science Letters, Secretary of Vigyan Prashad (1966-69), and Editor, Vigyan (1950-56), an organ for popularization of science in Hindi. He authored Prakash Rasayan, first book for postgraduate classes in Hindi, as well a number of books for undergraduate classes. He also served as INSA Council Member (1979-80; 1981-83).
Awards and Honours: Professor Nigam won the Acharya PC Ray Memorial Award (1987), Sir JC Ghosh Memorial Award (1988) and Life-Time Achievement Award (2000), all from Indian Chemical Society; and the coveted Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship (1969) tenable at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He was President of Indian Chemical Society (1990-91), Physical Sciences Section of National Academy of Sciences (1982) and Chemistry Section of Indian Science Congress (1980). He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1952).