Sambasiva Swaminathan obtained BSc (Hons) (1943) from Annamalai University and then joined the Department of Organic Chemistry at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore where he was awarded AIISc degree. At the University of Illinois, Urbana, he obtained the PhD (1949) working with HR Snyder and was postdoctoral fellow with MS Newman at Ohio State University. He joined the University of Madras as Reader (1953), became Professor (1960), Senior Professor (1966), retired (1983), and continued as Professor Emeritus for many years and as INSA Senior Scientist.
Academic and Research Achievements: During his long stay at the University of Madras, Swaminathan transformed its Department of Organic Chemistry into a major centre of organic chemical research. He made significant contributions in the areas of synthetic approaches to non-aromatic steroids, molecular rearrangements, chemistry of indoles and thienopyrroles, and asymmetric syntheses. He discovered a novel molecular rearrangement leading to a two carbon expansion.
Other Contributions: Swaminathan is one of the founders of National Organic Symposium Trust (NOST) functioning in India to promote research through regular symposia among active research chemists from India and abroad.
Awards and Honours: Professor Swaminathan won the Dr TR Govindachari Award (1980); Lifetime Achievement Award (2000) of the Chemical Research Society of India, Professor K Venkataraman Lecture and Dr RC Shah Memorial Lecture awards of the University of Bombay, and Acharya PC Ray Lecture Award of Indian Chemical Society.
The Indian National Science Academy has instituted "Professor S Swaminathan 60th Birthday Commemoration Lecture Award" in his honour.