Sukh Dev received the MSc (1945) from Panjab University, Lahore (now in Pakistan), PhD (1950) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and DSc (1960) also from IISc. He was conferred DSc (hc) by Bundhelkhand University, Jhansi (2000) and also by IIT Delhi (2008). He served as Research Associate (1948-53) and Lecturer (1953-1959) at IISc; Research Associate (1957) at University of Illinois, Head, of the Division of Organic Chemistry, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune (1960-74), and Research Director, Malti-Chem Research Centre, Vadodara (1974-88). He was Visiting Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology (1968), University of Georgia (1969), and University of Oklahoma (1970-71). Currently, he is Visiting Professor at the Dr BR Ambedkar Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Delhi, and is also consultant with several chemical companies.
Academic & Research Achievements: Sukh Dev made significant contributions to our knowledge of organic chemistry by uncovering scores of novel, complex, plant secondary metabolites such as zerumbone, himachalenes, malabaricol, cheilanthatriol, kodocytochalasins, bakuchiol, guggulsterones, guggultetrols; development of new techniques and processes: silver nitrate-silica gel (for thin layer chromatography, organic reactions in a solid matrix, heterolytic cleavage of homoallylic alcohols), and concepts: Absolute Stereochemistry Biogenetic Rule. He worked on the Indian economic raw materials, such as lac, Indian turpentine oil, devadaaru, and Indian medicinal plants. Longifolene, a typical component of Indian turpentine was converted into useful aroma compounds, which are being manufactured not only in India, but also in foreign countries. Carene, another characteristic constituent of this oil, was fashioned into several commercially important molecules. Himachalenes, hydrocarbons from devadaaru, were recognised as effective against ectoparasites and have been commercialised as a veterinary drug. Several Ayurvedic crude drugs were investigated and evaluated for their therapeutic claims. For example, guggulu is claimed in Ayurveda for treating lipid disorders. Investigations led to the isolation of compounds (guggulsterones) responsible for this activity, and products based on this are being manufactured not only in India, but also by several parties abroad. Currently, there is much scientific interest in these molecules globally. Bakuchiol, a compound isolated from baakuchi, has been converted into a highly potent juvenoid, and has been successfully evaluated for its use in sericulture. He has more than 390 scientific publications to his credit including 55 patents. Ninety two students received their PhD under his direct supervision. He is the author of 10 books, and has contributed chapters in over 18 other books.
Other Contributions: Sukh Dev served on the Editorial Advisory Board of Tetrahedron and Tetrahedron Letters (1976-95), Tetrahedron Asymmetry (1990-95) and Dictionary of Organic Compounds, 5th Edn.
Awards and Honours: Dr Sukh Dev was conferred the Sudborough Medal by IISc (1949), Guha Research Medal by IISc (1958), SS Bhatnagar Award (1964), Acharya PC Ray Medal by Indian Chemical Society (1970), Dr KG Naik Gold Medal by MS University, Baroda 1977), Vishwakarma Medal by INSA (1979), Ernest Guenther Award by American Chemical Society (1980), Distinguished Alumni Award by IISc (1980), VASVIK Award (1980), FICCI Award (1980), Professor TR Seshadri 70th Birthday Commemoration Medal by INSA (1981), Meghnad Saha Medal by INSA (1987), Satyendra Nath Bose Research Professorship by INSA (1988-93), TWAS Award in Chemistry (1988), Srinivasan Ramanujan Birth Centenary Award by Indian Science Congress Association (1992), Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Research and Education Award by Indian Chemical Society (1999), Lifetime Achievement in Chemistry Award by Chemical Research Society of India (2000), and Padma Bhushan (2008). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Allahabad (1974), the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (1992); President, Indian Chemical Society (1978-79), Organic Chemistry Division, IUPAC (also Co-opted Member, Titular Member, Secretary, 1983-85, and Vice-President); and Trustee (1983- ) and Chairman (1987-91), National Organic Symposium Trust, India.