Santi Ranjan Palit did his DSc (1942) from University of Calcutta. He worked as Lecturer in Chemistry, Vidyasagar College, Kolkata (1936-38); Research Chemist, Indian Lac Research Institute, Namkum (1938-44); and Professor and Head, Department of Physical Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata (1947-75). He workd as a guest Professor at the Fritz Haber Institute der Max Planck Gesellschaft, Berlin (1965-66), Visiting Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (1966) and at the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (1976-77).
Academic and Research Achievements:Palit’s researches spanned: polymerization kinetics, surface-active agents, solubilization, cosolvency, polarization and dipole moments, non-aqueous titrations and correlation of physical properties. He also studied the physical chemistry of lacquers, varnishes and non-aqueous solutions of soaps and resins. He made the important discovery that soap dissolves well in a mixture of glycol and hydrocarbon dissolving solvent though it is almost insoluble in either. A pionear as he was in nonaqueous titrimetry, he developed a method for the direct volumetric analysis of soaps soon after he found the powerful solvent action of G-H mixtures. Palit’s interest on consolvency remained alive throughout his career. In later life when he established himself as a distinguished researcher in polymer chemistry he studied consolvency in the field of polymers as well. Palit and coworkers discovered several cosolvent systems for dissolution of ethylene low polymers at ambient temperatures. The most significant contribution of Palit in the field of polymer chemistry is his discovery (1959-60) of two simple techniques called the dye techniques for the determination of endgroups in high polymers.
Other Contributions:Palit served as Member of the International Commission on Macromolecules, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. He authored Elementary Physical Chemistry (also the Bengali Version) and co-authored Practical Physical Chemistry.
Awards and Honours:Professor Palit was elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, London; Vice-President, Indian Chemical Society (1973-74); and President, Chemistry Section, Indian Science Congress (1958). The Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science has instituted the ‘Biannual Award’ in Physical/ Polymer Chemistry in his honour.