Anil Kumar obtained his BSc from Agra University and MSc from Rohilkhand University. He joined National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune (1978) to carry out research leading to his PhD degree in Chemistry under the supervision of SS Katti. He moved to the University of Oklahoma (1981) for his post-doctoral research under G Atkinson. He received Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1985) in the research group of EU Franck at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, where he investigated supercritical fluids. On returning to India he joined National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and has been working there since 1990.
Academic and Research Achievements: Kumar contributed in the areas of experimental and theoretical thermodynamics of aqueous ionic systems. The equations developed by him are in extensive use for predicting thermodynamic properties of concentrated ionic systems, including at elevated conditions. He made sophisticated use of thermodynamics and principles of physical and organic chemistry to delineate the origin of forces that are responsible for promoting sluggish organic reactions. He has shown that hydrophobic effect in aqueous ionic solutions can explain spectacular rate enhancement in Diels-Alder reactions useful in the synthesis of molecules of biological importance. The concept put forward by him is based on the activation volumes of reactions and electrostriction as expressed in terms of internal pressures of solvent media known as green solvents. He has investigated the detrimental role of high viscosity of ion liquids on the progress of these reactions. With respect to biophysical chemistry of DNA, he proposed the concept of electrostriction which, when examined in the context of activation parameters, can explain the enhanced and decreased melting of DNA duplexes in highly variable ionic environment. He has published about 140 research articles, written chapters in several monographs and guided many students for their PhD degrees.
Other Contributions: Kumar is on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Solution Chemistry and Indian Journal of Chemistry. He has been Council Member (2005-06) and Vice President (2007-08) of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad.
Awards and Honours: Dr Kumar was awarded a Bronze Medal (2000) and later Silver Medal by Chemical Research Society of India. He is also a recipient of Scientist of the Year Award of the NCL Research Foundation (2001), FICCI Award (2006), CHEMITO Award (2007), and NR Dhar Memorial Lecture Award of the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad (2007) and Homi Bhabha Gold Medal ISCA. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (2000), and the Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore (2001).