PT Manoharan earned his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Madras and PhD (1966) from Columbia University, New York, working on 'electronic structure of metal pentacyanonitrosyls' under the guidance of Harry Gray. He later developed his interest and expertise in magnetic resonance, specially, on EPR spectroscopy of transition ions having worked with Max Rogers. He returned to India to work at IIT, Kanpur and then shifted to IIT-M, Chennai, in the Department of Chemistry. He was Visiting Professor/Scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda; Catholieke Universiteit, the Netherlands; University of Stuttgart; the University of Western Australia, among others. He also served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras (1997-99).
Academic and Research Achievements: Teaching quantum chemistry, group theory, ligand field theory, magnetism and spectroscopy and bioinorganic chemistry has been Professor Manoharan's passion. He used appropriate or total EPR spin Hamiltonian to elucidate the electronic and molecular structures of transition ions that explained his observations of (i) strong Forbidden hyperfine interactions due to quadrupolar and high field effects, (ii) spin flip transitions, (iii) line broadening and exchange narrowing in low dimensional magnets and (iv) exchange interactions in exchange coupled systems. His investigations as a collaborative effort with Dr Rifkind of NIA/NIH on hemoglobins (and now cobalamins) categorically proved the dynamics of 4-5 coordination in the 'alpha' and 'beta' chains of T and R conformations and explicitly the formation of thiyl radicals and superoxide under hypoxy conditions. His work on the dynamics of spin labels in sulfhydryl pocket of Hb and of bi-radicals were built on sound theory and experiments. His combined use of EPR, NMR, Mossbauer and optical excitations, crystallography and/or magnetism provided a complete property profile. He has mentored 36 PhDs, 24 Masters and a number of post-doctoral Fellows.
Other Contributions: Manoharan was the founder of the nation's premier Regional Sophisticated Instrumentation Centre at IIT-M, Chennai, a research support centre for Indian scientists. He has also served the executive bodies of institutions and organization like Institute of Science, Indian Assocation for the Cultivation of Sciences and Chemical Research Society of India. He created an environmental organization in IIT-M, Chennai.
Awards and Honours: Professor Manoharan received the Rangadhama Rao Memorial Lecture Award of INSA (1987); FICCI Award (1989); Professor Santi Ranjan Palit Award of IACS (1989); IASc's Morris Travers lecture Award (1993); Sadhan Basu Memorial Award of INSA (1996); Decennium Lecture Award of MG University (2002) and Outstanding Achievement Award in EPR Spectroscopy (2005). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (1981), the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World of INSA (2002) and of WIF (2002) respectively. He was Secretary, INSA (1997-99)