Nanjangud Sreekantaiah Rangaswamy received BSc (Hons) (1954) and MSc (1955) degrees in Botany from the erstwhile University of Mysore. After a brief stint as a High School Teacher in Karnataka, he joined the University of Delhi and obtained PhD (1960) under the joint supervision of Professors P Maheshwari and S Narayanaswami. He joined the teaching Faculty (1959) and continued to work at Delhi University from where he retired as Professor (1997). He was Fulbright-Hay's Fellow at Yale University (1964-65); Visiting Scientist, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Charles University (1969-70); Visiting Professor and UNESCO Fellow, Harvard University and University of Hawaii (1971-72); and Ford Foundation Exchange Fellow, Nagoya University, Japan (1976-77).
Academic & Research Achievements: Rangaswamy has made notable observations in experimental embryology, morphogenesis and reproductive biology of angiosperms. Rangaswamy (with Tupy) showed that compatible pollinations enhance rRNA and DNA contents in styles, and discovered (with Maeda) that the rootless Tilandsia gets nitrogen from algal microbes present on leaf surface. His pioneering studies relate to establishing cultures of nucellus and mature endosperm, achieving in vitro seed germination of obligate root parasites without the host plants, and test-tube fertilization in angiosperms. He has experimentally demonstrated that: (i) seedling development from 'unorganized' embryos is monopolar, (ii) developing seeds of cotton and cucurbits have a 'built-in' chemical mechanism which represses nucellar embryony, (iii) gossypol and cucurbitacins inhibit somatic embryogenesis, (iv) hardseededness is a correlative expression of structure and chemistry of testa, (v) pollen, instead of whole plants, can be advantageously screened for salt stress, (vi) induced androgenic embryos in mulberry and brassica originate from microspores, and (vii) deduced evidences to prove that simultaneous type of microsporogenesis engenders only the tetrahedral tetrad.
Other Contributions: Rangaswamy served as Convener, UNESCO-sponsored International Symposium on Plant Tissue and Organ Culture (1961, the first in India), and Editor, Phytomorphology, the official organ of the International Society of Plant Morphologists.
Awards and Honours: Professor Rangaswamy was recipient of the S Nawashin Memorial Medal, Leningrad (1990). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, and the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.