Kafil Ahmad Chowdhury obtained his DSc degree (1939) from the University of Edinburgh, UK. His specialization was in botany and forestry. He was Wood Technolgist (1927-47), Chief Research Officer (1947-54), Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun and Professor of Botany, Aligarh Muslim University (1956-68).
Academic and Research Achievements: Chowdhury was distinguished wood anatomist. His first work with HP Brown produced a wealth of data on wood anatomy, timber mechanics, wood preservation, wood seasoning, and working qualities of 320 wood species. He identified timbers of strategic value, which were needed by the Defence Forces and published the results in three volumes. He worked on Burma timbers, also. Chowdhury published the first volume on Indian Woods (with SS Ghosh), giving information on Indian trees and woods, their distribution, habitat, etc. On the basis of his observations, he enunciated that in some species, the nature and extent of various wood elements underwent changes in relation to the environment but remained unaffected in others. Also, the discovery of 'initial parenchyma' is associated with him. He devised new techniques for anatomical studies and discovered a new wood, Pahudioxylon indicum, from Bankura, West Bengal.
Other Contributions: Chowdhury served as a Member of INSA Council (1963-65).
Awards and Honours: Chowdhury was Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) (1945); and President of Botany Section, Indian Science Congress (1948). He received Forest Research Institute Jubilee Medal (1956); and was Vice-President of UNESCO Conference on Contribution of People in the Anatomy of Tropical Seed Plants. He was a Fellow of Indian Botanical Society (President, 1954).