Goverdhan Mehta earned his BSc and MSc from the University of Rajasthan and PhD from the University of Poona, working at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) under the mentorship of Sukh Dev. His post-doctoral research at the Michigan State University under Don Farnum and at the Ohio State University under Paul Gassman was on the chemistry of strained polycyclic systems that led to the first preparation of the long sought parent cyclopopenyl cation. He first joined IIT Kanpur and then moved to the newly established University of Hyderabad as Professor of Chemistry (1977) and finally to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore (1998). He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad (1994-98) and Director of IISc (1998-2005). He has received the DSc (hc) from over a dozen universities in India and overseas.
Academic and Research Achievements: Mehta launched his independent research career at IIT Kanpur in 1970 that resulted in the discovery of deep-seated cationic rearrangements in natural terpenes, synthesis of natural products and study of reconstitution of complex polycyclic systems. Over the years, he established a flourishing and productive group exploring diverse areas of organic synthesis, particularly, focussed on the total synthesis of complex natural products and design of new molecular entities. At the School of Chemistry in Hyderabad, his group achieved the total synthesis on over 20 natural products and created and introduced new molecular entities like garudane, golcondane, ladderanes and BuckyBalls into the chemical literature. A notable contribution was the synthesis of triquinanes using only heat and light as the reagents and this is recognized as a seminal example of 'green synthesis'. At Bangalore, Mehta initiated major programme on the design of carbasugar based glycomimics, conceptualisation and realization of a new family of polycyclitols, total synthesis of complex bioactive natural products based on simple 'global' strategies and study of supramolecular architecture in solid state.
Other Contributions: Mehta has been President, Association of Indian Universities and the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI). He has served as the Founder Co-chair of Inter Academy Council and President of the International Council of Scientific Union (ICSU). He is a Corresponding Member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, Belgium.
Awards and Honours: Mehta received SS Bhatnagar Prize (1978), Basudev Bannerji Medal & Prize by Indian Chemical Society (1979), Science & Technology Award of Rajasthan Government (1980), Professor RD Desai Medal & Prize of the Indian Chemical Society (1982), FICCI Award (1983), INSA Golden Jubilee Commemoration Medal (1989), GD Birla Award (1992), Srinivasa Ramanujan Research Professorship of INSA (1992-97), Goyal Prize (1994), Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru National Award by MP Government (1994), Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, Germany (1995), Acharya PC Ray Medal of Indian Chemical Society (1995), Officier dans l`ordre des Palmes Academiques by the President of France (1999), PC Ray Memorial Award of ISCA (2000), Silver Medal of CRSI (2000), TWAS Medal (2001), Padma Sri (2001), New Millennium Plaque of Honor by ISCA (2002), Life time Achievement Award by Indian Chemical Society (2003), Royal Society of Chemistry, London, Award and Medal (2003), Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the President of France (2004), Rajyotsava Award by Government of Karnataka (2004), Centenary Medal and Lectureship, Royal Society of Chemistry, London (2005), Honorary Fellowship (Hon FRSC) of The Royal Society of Chemistry, UK (2006), Excellence in Science and Technology Award by ISCA (2006), Trieste Science Prize in Chemical Sciences (TWAS) (2007), and GM Modi Innovative S&T Award (2007). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, UK, Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia, Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, and Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). He has been the Member, Council (1989-91), Vice-President (1995-97) and President (1999-2001) of INSA.