Ram Narayan Chakravarti obtained the DSc (1945) from the University of Calcutta with specialization in organic, medicinal, toxicological and phytochemistry. He was Professor and Deputy Director, School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata (1948-68), Director, Indian Institute of Experimental Medicine (now Indian Institute of Chemical Biology), Kolkata (1968-76), CSIR Emeritus Scientist (1976-78), and Director of R&D, Dey's Medical Stores (Mfg) Ltd, Kolkata (1978-).
Academic and Research Achievements: Chakravarti's research covers camphorquinone rearrangement; Diekman cyclization of polycarboxylic esters; syntheses, reactions, degrations of terpenes, steroids, alkaloids, saponins and other natural products of importance; determination of the structure of strychnine; use of lithium aluminum hydride in steroids and partial synthesis of alpha-spinasterol and vitamin D3; synthesis of complex coumarins of biological importance; survey of Dioscoreas for establishing Dioscorea deltoidea and D prazeri as rich Indian sources of diosgenin; field and laboratory work on Malda and Darrag paralysis of 1963 and establishing the cause as contamination of imported wheat flour with tri-o-cresyl phosphate; work on epidemic dropsy and establishing argemone poisoning, a simple test for detection of argemone contamination in edible oils; basic work which established economically viable medicinal plantation at Rongo (Darjeeling); and finding an exotic weed (Kalstromia pubescens) for diosgenin.
Other Contributions: Chakravarti was Member, Indian Chemical Society (President, 1973-74) and Indian Pharmaceutical Association. He was managing J and Proc Instn. Chemists (India). He was Trustee, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science; Sir Surendranath Banerjee Education Trust and Sir JC Bose Trust. He was a Member of Bose Institute, its Governing Body and Council. He started AIC examination of Institute of Chemists (India) in applied analytical chemistry.
Awards and Honours: Chakravarti was a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, the Asiatic Society (Vice-President, 1980-82), Institution of Chemists, India (President 1978), Indian Public Health Association, and West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology. Other awards and honours that he received include: JM Dasgupta Medal of Indian Chemical Society (1943), Elliot Prize of Asiatic Society (1950), KG Naik Lecture and Medal of MS University of Baroda (1964), PC Ray Lecture and Medal of Indian Chemical Society (1968), Capt NN Dutta Lecture and Medal of Calcutta Medical Club (1969), Padma Bhushan (1972), Sisir Kumar Mitra Lecture Award of INSA (1972), HK Sen Lecture and Medal (1976) and Cooper Medal by Institution of Chemists, India, and Barclay Medal of Asiatic Society (1979).