Subramania Ranganathan received his BSc, and MSc (1957), both from Madras University. After a brief stint in the Biochemistry Department at Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai, he pursued his studies at the Ohio State University where he held the Sloan Kettering Foundation Fellowship for three years. He was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society and received his PhD (1962) under the guidance of Harold Shechter. He then worked with RB Woodward at the Harvard University (1962-64) and also at Woodward Research Institute (1964-66), Basel, Switzerland. Ranganathan joined the Chemistry Department, IIT Kanpur (1966) and held various positions, Professor, Head of the Department, and Dean (Professor-in-Charge) before retiring in 1994. He was INSA Senior Scientist (1994-99), first at RRL Trivandrum and then at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad where he was Honorary Scientist.
Academic and Research Achievements: While working with Woodward, he played a key experimental role in the development of Woodward-Hoffmann Rules in the course of Vitamin B12 synthesis. He completed the total synthesis of Cephalosporin-C, which was the Nobel Lecture delivered by Woodward. His major research contributions involved organic synthesis, reaction mechanisms, protein engineering, crafting of new reagents and design of new reactions, non-covalent self-assembly, protein evolution, role of zinc in molecular biology and biosilicification, covering over 200 publications.
Other Contributions: Ranganathan authored/co-authored over a dozen books. He provided the Current Organic Chemistry Highlights (a critical analysis of the literature, every month at negligible costs), particularly to students.
Awards and Honours: Professor Ranganathan was conferred many prestigious awards such as Basudev Banerjee Medal and Prize (1975), SS Bhatnagar Award (1977), Silver Medal by Chemical Research Society of India (2000), RC Mehrotra Endowment Gold Medal (2000), and Life-time Achievement Award by Chemical Research Society of India (2006). He also received lectureship awards such as the Professor K Venkatraman Lecturer (1979), UGC National Lecturer (1979-80), Professor AB Kulkarni Lecturer (1982); Professor NV Subba Rao Memorial Lecturer (1985), SERC National Lecturer (1991); Professor TR Seshadri Memorial Lecturer (1993), Maitreyi Memorial Lecturer (1994); and DAE-Raman Lecturer (2001). He was also elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1975), National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1991), Honorary Professor Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (1999), and President of the Indian Society of Bioorganic Chemists (1994-2001).