Total visitors:1,965 since 11-06-04





ISSN 0409-7467



15 MAY 2004



Team responsible for synthesis of chirally pure drug molecules at NCL, (from left):

Dr(Smt.) Rohini Joshi,  Dr R.A. Joshi, Dr. M.K. Gurjar, Dr M.N. Deshmukh and Mr Nilesh Karade


Therefore, a chiral drug offers distinctive benefits, particularly in the form of reduced dosage for the same efficiency as the conventional drug. Chiral form of the drug diminishes the side effects due to the removal of unwanted enantiomer coupled with less dosage. Over the years, NCL has built an unprecedented reputation in chiral synthesis. During a brain storming session between NCL and Emcure, a Pune based pharmaceutical company, an agreement was signed for active collaboration in the area of chirally pure drugs.


The first programme identified under the collaborative research between NCL and Emcure was the development of chiral process for S-amlodipine besylate. Amlodipine besylate is sold world over as a racemate of which only the S-form has required calcium channel blocking activity. The undesirable R- amlodipine has no such activity but is associated with some side effects. Clinical trials carried out on hundreds of patients clearly demonstrated that only S-amlodipine besylate is the active component and it is devoid of peripheral edema. Racemic amlodipine besylate has long term side effects of edema. Post marketing surveillance on more than 1500 patients has confirmed this advantage of S-amlodipine besylate without any doubt. Although the undesirable R-amlodipine may not be toxic to human beings, but once taken, the human body has to remove it through the metabolic process and it unnecessarily loads the human system. It was proven through clinics that the 2.5 mg of S-amlodipine is as effective as 5 mg of racemic amlodipine besylate.


The major issue in developing a cost effective process for S-amlodipine besylate was the identification of cheap resolving agent to separate S-amlodipine from the mixture containing both R- and S-amlodipine.  After several attempts, a new and less expensive resolving agent was identified. The manufacturing process was optimized to such a level that today S(-)-amlodipine besylate is sold at a cheaper price compared to some brands of racemic amlodipine.


The development of a patented process for the preparation of S-amlodipine besylate and successful commercialization of the technology by M/s Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Pune, was awarded the NCL Research Foundation's ICICI Technology award for the year 2003.  The award was shared by Dr R.A. Joshi and Dr (Smt.) R.R. Joshi of Organic Chemistry (Technology) Division of NCL.  Sharing his thoughts, while receiving the award, Dr Joshi said, “We were really happy and excited when we came to know that our research result on S-amlodipine will be reaching the society through Emcure in the form of AsomexÔ for alleviating hypertension. Nothing is more satisfying to the research worker than to see his research results reaching the society and resulting in improving the quality of life”.  “These efforts are in  keeping with the NCL's motto to advance the knowledge and to apply the chemical science for the good of the people”, he added.


NCL also felicitated with citation, Mr Arun K. Khanna, Director (Marketing), Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd who shared his experiences and said, “We will always remain thankful to NCL and the scientists, especially, Drs Joshi and M. K. Gurjar and those who helped us in bringing up such a great molecule based on chiral technology.” He further added  “Racemic amlodipine has been a great drug molecule but fraught with limitations in the form of side effects. Emcure was confident that introduction of chirality in amlodipine could eliminate the problems which were faced by patients.  Today, racemic amlodipine has been a major blockbuster drug of Pfizer with a sale of US $ 3.5 billion. The Indian market of racemic amlodipine is Rs 300 crores with various dose forms.” "Emcure conducted bio-equivalence study and it was followed by multicentric clinical trials with the objective to compare the efficacy and safety of chirally pure amlodipine.  It was found that the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering activity was more with S-amlodipine as compared to the amlodipine given as mixture.  Although, amlodipine is a proven therapy for the treatment of hypertension, it is commonly associated with adverse events like peripheral edema and other side effects like headache, dizziness, flushing and abdominal pain. None of the patients in the S-Amlodipine treatment group reported any of the adverse effects. “S-amlodipine is being sold in seven counties and wherever we are launching this drug we are getting good response”, added Mr Khanna.


Among several initiatives taken by NCL in process development of chiral drugs, R-salbutamol, levocetrizine, etc. are at final stages of commercialization and launching.


In spite of the fact that the market size for chiral drugs is US $ 180 billion, India is contributing marginally. However, the potential of chiral drugs in this country is enormous, particularly from the IPR and export points of view. NCL has been a forerunner in this area, helping Indian pharmaceutical industries to excel and compete the market forces.



The National Metallurgical Laboratory  (NML), Jamshedpur, in its endeavour to overcome the crisis of Agra foundries following the Supreme Court directives on the eco-friendly production of foundry grade iron, developed and put up environmentally benign and energy efficient eco-friendly Gas Melting Furnace, popularly known as cokeless cupola for foundry grade iron. The technology devised for catering to the needs of several foundries across the country is ready for commercial exploitation.


Cupola is a unit for melting cast iron in foundries. It normally uses coke as fuel. Combustion of coke generates a number of gaseous products such as oxides of carbon (COx), nitrogen (NOx) and sulphur (SOx) as well as excessive Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM). In India, the exhaust gas emission from iron foundries varies from 400 to 3000 mg/Nm3 of SPM, more than 400 mg/Nm3 of SOx and some undesirable NOx. These figures are rather high from the pollution point of view. The permissible limits  for SPM and  SOx are 150 mg/Nm3 and 350 mg/Nm3 fixed respectively according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India. These stringent pollution specifications, as laid down by CPCB, have been a threat to most of the 6000 foundries operating as clusters at Agra, Batala, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Coimbatore, Howrah and many more.


Public awareness and the pressure from the environmental activists have forced foundry owners to look into the pollution aspects and to take corrective measures for its mitigation to the lowest permissible limits. The directives of the Supreme Court of India further strengthened the development of eco-friendly coke-less cupola in the year 1995. It prohibits the use of coke in all the foundries particularly in the Taj trapezium and in all the Indian foundries at large. NML responded to this national need and submitted a project proposal to the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, for the development of environment-friendly coke-less cupola and initiated the technology development work in May 1996.


The use of low sulphur gaseous/liquid fuel promises extremely low level of SPM and SOx. The studies were initiated by converting a small existing conventional coke-fired cupola of 500 mm ID of NML Pilot Plant to suit initially for oil (LDO) and then for gas firing during 1996-97. The rated capacity of converted cupola was 1 tonne/h.


Based on success by the end of 1997, M/s Tata Korf and NML reached a Memorandum of


Top: Temperature measurement during topping of liquid iron at a demonstration Foundry in Agra.

 Middle: Casting operation following the NML Cokeless Cupola Technology

Left: Cast Valve made with the liquid iron, using cokeless cupola



Understanding (MoU) to commercialize the NML process and to provide technology for Pollution-free Cokeless Cupolas. Subsequently, M/s Tata Korf and the Agra Iron Founders Association (AIFA) entered into an agreement in early 1998 for the transfer of the NML-developed technology involving installation, commissioning and demonstration of natural gas based cokeless cupola of 2 tonnes/h capacity.


The first cupola of 2 tonnes/h capacity based on NML technology was installed in the premises of Agra Loh Udyog, Agra. The natural gas was made available to the cupola site through the pipeline of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL). After erection and commissioning of the said cupola at Agra Loh Udyog, the first melt was taken on 11 May 1998. In the subsequent 10 trials, some of the teething problems with respect to the metal temperature and metal and slag composition and flow ability of the slag were solved. Incorporating these modifications in the above units and conducting repeated trials (from 10th to 14th), all the problems were scientifically and systematically addressed to and various operational parameters were critically examined, determined and optimised. Accordingly, after several successful demonstration trials (from 15th to 20th) resulting in the production of a total 16-20 tonne of hot metal during June-August 1999, the melting unit was finally handed over to AIFA.


A gas based cupola of 3 tonnes/h capacity was then engineered and installed in the premises of M/s Goel Engineering Works, Agra in 2001 by M/s Tata Korf Engineering, based on the NML know how. The process parameters for 2 tonnes/h cokeless cupola were again examined, analyzed and optimized in the scaled-up cokeless cupola of 3 tonnes/h operation.


The technology is now ready for commercialization.



WORLDWIDE studies have shown that the overall cost of corrosion amounts to atleast 2 to 4% of the Gross National Product (GNP) and that 20 to 25% of that cost could be avoided by using appropriate corrosion control technology. Atmospheric corrosion is the major contributor to this cost. The aggressiveness of an atmospheric environment can be assessed by measuring the climatic and pollution factors, or by determining the corrosion rates of exposed metals and coatings.


To engineers and general users of metals, data on corrosivity of the atmospheres in a particular area or location is important to help them in the selection of materials and suitable protective coatings. It is needless to point out that these data are immensely useful to design engineers. The utility of the corrosion map is similar to that of other data such as meteorological maps indicating rainfall and temperature and soil maps depicting soil characteristics etc; as it gives a general or broad indication of the corrosivity of the atmosphere in different locations in the country. Such corrosivity maps have been prepared in USA, Scandinavia, Spain, New Zealand, UK, Australia, South Africa, Germany, India, Vietnam, etc.


It is almost 35 years since the first corrosion map of India was brought out and over these years, a lot of environmental changes have taken place owing to industrialization, population growth and




enormous increase in the vehicle population. Hence, it is high time to update the corrosivity map. The earlier maps were based on the corrosion/pollution data collected over a period of 5 years from 1963 to 1968 at 26 exposure stations located in different parts of the country. Even at that period it was felt that number of stations was quite small in relation to the enormous area to be covered and the vast variation in the environmental conditions encountered.


The Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, has initiated the long awaited exercise to prepare a new Corrosion Map of India and a comprehensive project proposal has been prepared in this regard. The project envisages setting up of 150 field stations covering the length and breadth of our country. The project to be implemented over a period of 5 years is estimated to cost around Rs 18 million. It is fervently hoped that the necessary financial support, both from industry and Government, would be forthcoming in the near future. In anticipation of such a support, and pending clearance from higher authorities, CECRI on its own has initiated to collect corrosivity data from a limited number of field stations.


Data have been collected over a period of 10 years, from 1993 to 2003, through 33 field stations. The data collected from these stations have been analyzed and presented in the form of an updated Corrosion Map. In this updated map, yearly corrosion rates for a particular material in millimetre per year has been arranged in four ranges. Each range is denoted by one particular colour code. Highest range is denoted by red circle whereas the lowest range, by green circle. Lowest range is less than the one tenth of the highest range.


Out of 33 locations, only five locations fall in the highest range. Of these five, three are along the coast and one is in the marine Island Port Blair. The fifth location is in the interior part. Another interesting feature of this map is that the corrosion is spot specific and not region specific. For example, along the east coast as well as west coast different colour spots could be observed, indicating that the corrosion can be either in the lowest range or in the highest range even though the spot is along the coast.


Because of paucity of funds, data are being generated only from a limited number of field stations. And the support of the government, paint manufacturers, etc. is solicited for this mammoth and very useful exercise.



THE National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, has entered into an agreement with two French academic institutes, namely the University of Science and Technology, Lille (USTL) and the National Institute for Applied Sciences, Lyon (INSA, Lyon).


The agreement recognizes the mutual interest in the fields of research, development, training and dissemination of knowledge on long-term non-commercial basis.


Under this bilateral collaboration, the exchange of scientists and, more importantly, research students will take place on mutually agreed and approved research programmes.  This will provide a valuable international exposure to the young researchers. The agreement will help strengthen the research capabilities of the participating institutes in the areas of chemistry, chemical engineering and biological sciences.


The French teams represented by the Dean, Professors and Vice-Presidents from these institutes visited NCL on 17-18 March to chalk out the modalities for implementation of the agreement.  USTL is one of the best academic centres in France and their capability in spectroscopy is world class, whereas INSA, Lyon belongs to the chain of advanced engineering and technology institutes in France.


The two teams, which visited NCL, consisted of the following members:


USTL Team — Prof. Jacques Brocard, Vice President (Chemistry); Prof. Jean-Michel Robbe, Vice President (Physics); Prof. Isam Shahour, Engineering Sciences; Dr Beatrice Delpoue, International Collaboration Department; and Dr Alain Higgins, International Collaboration Department


INSA Team — Prof. Jean-Marie Reynouard, Dean, Research, INSA; Prof. Martand Raynaud, Dean, Academic, INSA; Dr Valerie Desjardin, Project Manager, INSA, IFUWWT; and Dr Veronique Darleguy, INSA representative for India.



MR Ulrich Podewils, Director, Regional Office of Deutscher Akademischer Austaush Dienst (German Academic Exchange Service), New Delhi, donated a `Spray Imaging System' to the Director of Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun, Dr M.O. Garg, at a brief function organized at IIP on 6 April 2004. This equipment was donated by DAAD under its scientific equipment grant programme available to long‑term DAAD fellowship holders. The grant was approved for Shri Amar Kumar Jain, Senior Scientist of IIP, who is a DAAD Fellowship holder.


The equipment will be used for taking images of spray formation process of various automotive fuels in an injection chamber/optically accessible engine. The system consists of a stroboscope, a CCD camera and a data analysis system equipped with spray analysis computer software. The equipment will be useful for visualization of the fuel spray propagation and atomization process. The system can also be used for visualization of sprays in other chemical processes. The cost of this equipment is around Rs 1.2 million. This is one of the highly specialized facility to be available in the country, and would be useful to meet the emerging technology development requirements of Euro III & IV level emissions as per the Auto Fuel Policy of the country.



Mr Ulrich Podewils, Director, Regional Office of DAAD, New Delhi, explaining the working of 'Spray Imaging System'  to Dr M.O. Garg, Director

and senior scientists of Engines Lab of IIP



Molecular Design of Lipids and Their Assemblies and Interaction with Natural Components of Biological Cell Membranes


DR Santanu Bhattacharya, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has been chosen, along with Dr V. Chandrasekhar, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Chemical Sciences, for the year 2003 [CSIR News, 53(2003), 288].


Dr Bhattacharya has made notable contributions to the molecular design of lipids and their assemblies and interaction with natural components of the biological cell membranes. He also spearheaded design, synthesis and applications of new peptides for sequence-specific DNA recognition, novel DNA modifying agents, metallomicelles, surfactants, low molecular mass gelators, supramolecular and nanomaterials.



Dr Bhattacharya et al. synthesized a number of novel phospholipid and dimeric lipids, sugar based lipids and cholesteryl lipids and investigated their properties upon vesicle formation1. In certain designs, the strategies involved in situ synthesis of lipidic systems through `salt-bridge' type of interaction, and incorporation of `bent' molecular templates for the modulation of lipid packing upon their self-organization into membranous aggregates. Through these designs, it was shown how subtle variation of molecular architectures in these lipids influences the membrane formation, assembly, entrapment capacities, lipid order, stability and polymorphism. Using a new experimental approach, the nature of cholesterol-phospholipid interactions in vesicular membranes has been elucidated.


They investigated the DNA-lipid interactions using a number of biophysical and biochemical methods and utilized cationic lipids and related cytofectins for achieving non-viral gene transfer2. An important outcome of this work is the preparation of formulations for achieving gene transfection in mammalian cells in the presence of serum3.


Dr Bhattacharya and co-workers designed minor-groove binding drugs and synthesized several analogues of distamycin4. A dimeric peptide motif has been developed that binds to duplex DNA sequence-specifically and possesses enhanced affinity toward B-DNA than its natural counterpart. They also designed a range of DNA modifying reagents5 utilizing cationic transition metal complexes that induced activation of molecular oxygen under ambient conditions. They synthesized novel intercalatable metal-complexes, which could trigger DNA cleavage upon exposure to room light at physiological conditions.


Dr Bhattacharya prepared several metallo-organic surfactants, which in water at physiological pH and room temperature, generated metallomicelles. These aggregates bearing Cu (II) ion based nucleophiles provide practical means of achieving catalytic transformations in aqueous media6. Dr Bhattcharya also investigated the fundamentals of micellar aggregation by designing new gemini surfactants with the aid of small-angle-neutron-scattering and other physical chemical methods7. The first example of novel surfactants with multiple-head-groups has been reported8. After incorporation of three charges per hydrocarbon chain, micellar assembly was still possible although the aggregation number was reduced significantly.


They developed several fatty acid derived peptides and sugars that gelate specific solvents including water9. Such gels consisted of different types of fibrillar networks, including nano-sized tapes, and tubules. First instance of phase-selective gelation of oil from a two-phase mixture of oil in water has also been reported10. This finding has been recognized as a fundamental lead in this area of research.10b,c.


Prof. Santanu Bhattacharya is currently a Professor in the Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He has made notable contributions to the design of novel lipids and oligopeptides for gene regulation, and cationic liposomes and nanoparticles for gene delivery and transfection. His research has led to a substantial body of published work, which has received extensive citations and recognition. In addition to the present Bhatnagar Prize, he is a recipient of the Swarnajayanti Fellowship of the Department of Science & Technology, B.M. Birla Prize, National Bioscience Award for Career Development (Department of Bio-technology), and Bhagyatara National Award.




1.a) Bhattacharya S. & Dileep P.V., J. Phys. Chem. B 107 (2003) 3719. b) Bhattacharya S. & Subramanian M., Tetrahedron Lett. 43 (2002) 4203. c) Ghosh Y.K., Indi S. S. & Bhattacharya S., J. Phys. Chem. B 105 (2001) 10257. d) Bhattacharya S. & Acharya, S.N.G., Langmuir 16 (2000) 87. e) Bhattacharya S. & Haldar S., Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1467 (2000) 39. f) Bhattacharya S. & De S., Chem. Eur. J. 5 (1999) 2335. g) Bhattacharya S. & De S., Langmuir 15 (1999) 3400. h) Bhattacharya S., De S. & Subramanian M., J. Org. Chem. 63 (1998) 7640. i) Bhattacharya S., De S. & George S. K., Chem. Commun. (1997) 2287.

2. a) Bhattacharya S. & Dileep P.V., Tetrahedron Lett. 40, (1999) 8167. b) Bhattacharya S. & Mandal S.S., Biochemistry 37, (1998) 7764. c) Bhattacharya S. & Mandal S.S., Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1323 (1997) 29.

3. a) Ghosh Y.K., Visweswariah S.S. & Bhattacharya S., Bioconjugate Chem. 13 (2002) 378. b) Dileep P.V., Antony A. & Bhattacharya S., FEBS Lett. 509 (2001) 327. c) Ghosh Y.K., Visweswariah S.S. & Bhattacharya S., FEBS Lett. 473 (2000) 341.

4. a) Thomas M., Varshney, U. & Bhattacharya S., Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2002, (2002) 3604. b) Bhattacharya S. & Thomas M., Chem. Commun. (2001) 1464. c) Bhattacharya S. & Thomas M., Tetrahedron Lett. 42 (2001) 5525. d) Bhattacharya S. & Thomas M., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 267 (2000) 139. e) Bhattacharya S. & Thomas M., Tetrahedron Lett. 41 (2000) 5571.

5. a) Mandal S.S., Varshney U. & Bhattacharya S., Bioconjugate Chem. 8 (1997) 798. b) Bhattacharya S. & Mandal, S.S., Chem. Commun. (1996) 1515. c) Bhattacharya S. & Mandal S.S., Chem. Commun. (1995) 2489.

6. a) Bhattacharya S., Snehalatha K. & Kumar V.P., J. Org. Chem. 68 (2003) 2741. b) Bhattacharya S., Snehalatha K. & George S.K., J. Org. Chem. 63 (1998) 27.

7. a) De S., Aswal V.K., Goyal P.S. & Bhattacharya S., J. Phys. Chem. B 102 (1998) 6152. b) De S., Aswal V.K., Goyal P.S. & Bhattacharya S., J. Phys. Chem. B 101 (1997) 5639.

8. a) Haldar J., Aswal V.K., Goyal P.S. & Bhattacharya S., Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. Engl. 40 (2001) 1228. b) Haldar J., Aswal V.K., Goyal P.S. & Bhattacharya S., J. Phys. Chem. B 105 (2001) 12083.

9. a) Bhattacharya S. & Acharya, S.N.G., Chem. Mater. 11 (1999) 3504. b) Bhattacharya S. & Acharya, S.N.G., Chem. Mater. 11 (1999) 3121. c) Bhattacharya S., Acharya, S.N.G. & Raju A.R., Chem. Commun. (1996) 2101.

10. a) Bhattacharya S. & Ghosh Y.K., Chem. Commun. (2001) 185. b) Science News of the Week in Chemical & Engineering News (29th Jan.) 79 (2001) 12. c) The Alchemist, “Gels on oily waters” by David  Bradley, 16 Jan. 2001.



Indian Chemical Engineering Congress (CHEMCON-2003)


THE Indian Chemical Engineering Congress-2003 (CHEMCON-2003) and 56th Annual Session of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE ) was organized by IIChE, Orissa State Coordination (comprising  Bhubaneswar, Damanjodi and Rourkela Regional Centres) in association with the Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Bhubaneswar, during 19-22 December 2003 at RRL-Bhubaneswar. The National Organising Committee for CHEMCON-2003 was headed by Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission & Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Government. of India and the Local Organising Committee by Dr Vibhuti N. Misra, Director, RRL, Bhubaneswar. Shri K.C.Pant, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, inaugurated the Congress as the Chief Guest and Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa, graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour. Dr P.G. Rao, President, IIChE, delivered the Presidential address. More than 50 IIChE Awards were presented to Chemical Engineering professionals and students during the award presentation ceremony. Prof. L. K. Doraiswamy, ex-Director, NCL, Pune, received the B.P. Godrej Life Time Achievement Award and Dr H.P. Misra, ex-Chairman,  IPICOL, Orissa,  received  the IIChE  Orissa  Award  from Shri K. C. Pant.


In total, 900 delegates attended the conference. A one-day International Symposium on Role of Chemical Engineering in Processing of Minerals and Materials was also held during the conference, in which eminent chemical engineers and scientists from the world over delivered invited lectures. In total 25 invited lectures, including 16 Chemcon Distinguished Speaker (CDS) Award lectures and three memorial lectures were delivered in various advanced topics related to processing of minerals and materials. Three hundred technical papers were presented in six parallel oral sessions during the Annual Technical Meeting and 150 papers were presented through posters.


Dr D. Bhattacharjee, Director, BARC, inaugurated the Poster Session. The valedictory session was presided over by Dr P.G. Rao, the out-going President of  IIChE. Shri D.P.Misra, Dy Managing Director, Jacobs H&G Ltd. President-elect, was handed over the charge of the President, IIChE. IIChE felicitated Dr Vibhuti N. Misra, Chairman, LOC and Shri Jitendra N. Mohanty, Organising Secretary, for their contribution in organizing the CHEMCON-2003.



Conference on Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics (AMR-2004)


THE Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, organized a two-day National Conference on 'Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics' (AMR-2004) during 10-11 January 2004, with the objective to highlight the present research activities and the intricate problems of the industries in related areas so as to formulate the future research directions in line with the present international status.


Welcoming the participants, Dr Gopal P. Sinha, Director, CMERI and Chairman, AMR-2004, explained the objective of the conference in the light of the CSIR network programme on Advanced Manufacturing Technology. He highlighted the significant achievements of CMERI in the field of Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics. He expressed confidence that the conference would be an excellent forum for close interaction among the academicians, R&D scientists and industry professionals to share their views and learn from each other's experience.


In his inaugural address, the Chief Guest, Dr Harsh K. Gupta, Secretary, Department of Ocean Development (DOD), Government of India, called for development of innovative and appropriate technologies not only to cater to the Indian manufacturing sector but also support the developmental activities related to underwater exploration in the various programmes of DOD, such as polymetallic nodule mining, technologies for gas hydrates, etc. He stressed upon the necessity of concerted efforts in this regard from all corners, while at the same time, avoiding duplication of either facilities or work in the various organizations.


The Guest of Honour, Prof. Amitabha Ghosh of IIT, Kanpur, opined that the concept of manufacturing is changing very fast due to renewed requirements with improved flexibility, intelligence, product quality and productivity to remain competitive in the present era of globalization.


Shri S.N. Shome, Scientist, CMERI, and Convener of the Conference proposed a vote of thanks.

Two plenary sessions were conducted and a number of eminent speakers including Prof. M. Ravindran, Director, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT); Prof. Amitabha Ghosh, IIT-Kanpur; Prof. Debasish Datta, University of Michigan, USA; Dr V. Radhakrishnan, former Professor, IIT-Madras and Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore; Dr Manjit Singh, Head, Division of Remote Handling of Robotics, BARC; Dr N.P. Mukherjee, Sr. Scientist, CMERI, enlightened the participants about the recent status in the areas of advanced manufacturing and robotics.


The conference evoked wide response from all corners of the country. A large number of papers were received that spanned diverse areas like Mobile Robotics, Virtual Manufacturing, Underwater Robotics, Automation and Robotics, Manufacturing Analysis, Application of Computers and Automation in Manufacturing, Product Development/NNS, Unconventional Machining, DFM and related topics, RP and Concurrent Engineering and also on other related topics. Seventy-one papers were presented in twelve technical sessions. A total of 165 delegates attended the conference, of which 40 were student delegates.


A technical exhibition was arranged by different pioneer industries, which prompted extensive interactions among the delegates from industry, academia and R&D personnel.


The deliberations of the conference were summed up in the valedictory session. Dr Jhankar Basu, Senior Scientist of CMERI, expressed the need for constituting a common forum to decide on the issues and trends on advanced manufacturing and robotics to avoid duplicity and ensure proper progress in these fields. Prof. Radhakrishnan, in his concluding remarks, explained the present day need in the areas of advanced manufacturing and robotics and expressed satisfaction over the success of the conference. He also suggested organizing similar events every two years.



Fifth International Seminar on Mineral Processing Technology (MPT-2004)


THE fifth International Seminar on Mineral Processing Technology (MPT-2004) was held at the Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Bhubaneswar, jointly with Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers during 19-21 February 2004. The seminar was inaugurated by Shri M.M. Rajendran, Governor of Orissa, who spoke on the role of mineral engineers in converting the waste into wealth by adopting suitable state-of-the-art technologies on lean and low-grade ores. The seminar was attended by 17 overseas delegates from Australia, Germany, Brazil, Turkey, Sweden, Iran, Egypt and Malaysia and about 220 delegates from India, representing R&D scientists/engineers, entrepreneurs and academicians.


During the 3-day programme, 17 invited lectures were delivered in the plenary and special invited lecture sessions by eminent persons in the fields of characterisation, beneficiation, environment, bio-technology and application of genetic algorithm in mineral processing. A special technical session was organized to highlight the significant contributions of Indian R&D and academic institutions. Apart from the invited lectures, 100 technical papers pertaining to characterization of industrial, ferrous and non-ferrous minerals, coal preparation, process development, bio-beneficiation, modeling and waste & environment management were presented in 12 technical sessions.


A Research-Industry meet was also organized to enable the industry representatives discuss their problems with the fraternity of Mineral Engineers. Special presentations were made on recovery of granular sillimanite from beach sands, Radiological impact assessment and management plan of uranium mining project, Bio-technology for beneficiation of complex sulphide ores and the Role of mineral processing fraternity in the development of metallurgical industries.


During the inaugural session, Dr Vibhuti N Misra, Director, RRL-Bhubaneswar and Shri A.D. Baijal of Tata Steel were presented the IIME Mineral Beneficiation award and Dr S. Bhattacharya of ISM, Dhanbad, the IIME Coal Beneficiation Award. Prof. P.R. Khangoankar, Member of the Research Council of RRL-Bhubaneswar  was  also felicitated for  his  distinguished service to Indian Mineral Industry. The seminar proceedings volume (pp 828; Eds. Dr G.V. Rao and  Dr V.N. Misra, published by Ms Allied Publisher, New Delhi) was released on the first day of the seminar and copies were made  available  to all  the delegates.



THE National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), Jamshedpur, in association with the Institute of Ecotoxicology & Environmental Sciences (IEES) organized a two-day national seminar on `Pollution in Urban Industrial Environment' at NML during 4-5 December 2003. Held under the chairmanship of Prof. S.P. Mehrotra, Director, NML, the seminar aimed at evolving programmes on environmental awareness, education and management with a view to promoting sustainable development.


Dr P.C. Mandal, Director General, Geological Survey of India (GSI), Kolkata, while inaugurating the seminar emphasized the need of striking a balance between the industrial growth and environmental pollution. He also released a souvenir containing popular articles and abstracts of the papers.


Prof. Mehrotra, in his presidential address expressed his concern over air-borne diseases owing to increasing air pollution. Shri S. C. Maulik, Sr. Dy. Director, NML, welcomed the delegates and introduced the Chief Guest, Dr P.C. Mandal. Dr B. Bhattacharyya, President, IEES, detailed about the seminar.


Dr P.C. Mandal, Director General, Geological Survey of India, releasing the souvenir of IEES-2003.

 On his left is Prof. S.P. Mehrotra, Director, NML


The inaugural function was followed by four technical sessions and the panel discussion covering the following themes: (i) Air Pollution, (ii) Water Pollution, (iii) Impact of Pollution on Reverine Environment, (iv) Environment Awareness Monitoring, Control and Management and (v) Industrial Pollution and Waste Management.


Over 65 delegates from R&D organizations, academic institutions and industry, including IIT-Kharagpur; Jadavpur University; Vishwa Bharti University; Osmania University; Ranchi University; Burdman University, IEES; NML; CFRI; IICB; DAE, Usha Martin Ltd; Tata Steel; M.N. Dastur & Co.; and MECON participated.


The concluding session was chaired by Prof. Mehrotra with Dr B. Bhattacharyya, Dr S.A. Pandit, Dr S. Bhattacharyya, Dr P. Krishnamurthy and Shri Premchand as the members. Prof. Mehrotra summed up the proceedings and gave suggestions towards formulating strategies for tackling the pollution with particular reference to urban industrial environment. The major points that emerged from the discussion pertained to Need for interaction among laboratories, academic institutions and industry and sharing the facilities, considering the multi‑disciplinary nature of the problem; Taking up measures to reduce stress conditions like reducing CO2 level, use of CNG, etc.; Clustering of small industries for treatment of effluents and safe disposal of wastes; Encouraging the processing and utilization of solid wastes; and Bringing awareness among people, particularly children, and introducing the subject in the course curriculum in schools and colleges.

Dr S.K. Sarkar,  Convener of the seminar proposed a vote of thanks.



THE National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, hosted the XXXIII National Seminar on Crystallography during 8-10 January 2004. It is an annual event where all those engaged in biological, chemical and material research with Crystallography as a main component of the research, present their work, discuss the topics of mutual interest and exchange ideas. Co-hosted by University of Pune, the seminar was organized under the auspices of INSA National Committee for Crystallography and Indian Crystallographic Association (ICA).



Germany, delivering the keynote address on 'Crystallization and Structure Determination of Membrane Proteins:  Routes and Achievements' during National Seminar on Crystallography


Prof. Hartmut Michel, Nobel Laureate, Max-Planck Institut for Biophysik, Germany, delivered the keynote address on 'Crystallization and Structure Determination of Membrane Proteins: Routes and Achievements'.  He explained the challenges involved in crystallization of membrane proteins and demonstrated that all efforts are worth since the drug action, particularly for cancer like diseases, would be possible only by knowing the three-dimensional structure of the membrane proteins. Inaugurating the seminar, Dr S.K. Sikka, Chairman, INSA National Committee for Crystallography, said, "Crystallography was earlier dominated by physicists, but now it has been taken over by the biologists.  The culture of building instruments has disappeared because of availability of foreign exchange and easy imports."  He lamented that, "We are not in the field of software building for crystallography and though we are growing crystals, very few of them have been converted into devices".  Prof. M. Vijayan, President, ICA, remarked, "Biological crystallography has got established in India and is beginning to make impact on biology itself.  In the field of chemical crystallography some outstanding work is going on but the crystal physics is suffering from device problem." Prof. Vijayan also stressed on the need for a synchrotron source in the country for crystallographic research to remain internationally competitive. Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL and Chairman, Organizing Committee, welcomed the delegates who were over 300 in number and at least half of them students. The proceedings of the inaugural session were conducted by Dr C.G. Suresh, one of the joint conveners.


The scientific programme was spread over five plenary sessions and eight parallel sessions. There were nine plenary and twenty invited talks presented in parallel sessions. A special session on '50 years of DNA structure discovery' comprising five invited talks was another feature of the seminar. The parallel sessions also included presentations by 40 young researchers focusing on their research findings.  Nearly 200 posters were displayed and three best posters were selected based on an opinion poll among participants and judgement of experts.


Major presentations in the seminar were in the fields of Structural Biology, Chemical Crystallography and Crystal Physics. Presentation in the field of Biological Crystallography pertained to bioinformatics, structures of hydrolytic enzymes and their inhibitors, medicinally important proteins, proteins in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and also structural genomics and biotechnology in general.. On the other hand, in Chemical Crystallography and Physics of Crystallography the emphasis was on structural features and design of organic molecules, molecular structures of potential drugs and drug related compounds, drug polymorphism, crystal growth, material and crystal characterisation through physical techniques. Recent advances in powder diffraction techniques and nanomaterials were also discussed.


The seminar attracted several internationally renowned experts from India and abroad, who delivered the plenary and main conference lectures, enriching the scientific content of the meeting. Prof. Guy Dodson, University of York, UK, in his plenary lecture discussed how structural flexibility of proteins leads to cooperativity and recognition in enzyme catalysis. Prof. Gautam Desiraju, University of Hyderabad, spoke at length about the research in polymorphism of crystal structures and how these studies had lead to accomplishing effective crystal engineering and achieve structure prediction. Dr Krishan Lal, National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, spoke on various methods developed for growth and characterization of bismuth germinate crystals used for several applications.


Prof. Guru Row, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, explained how information on the distribution of charge density for weak interactions in crystals of halogen compounds could help in effective crystal engineering. Dr Margaret Adams, Oxford University, UK, discussed the three-dimensional structure of human glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, the enzyme involved in chronic non-spherocytic haemolytic anaemia. Dr K.I. Varughese, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA, talked on the crystal structure of the complex of the amino domain of platelet glycoprotein 1B alpha with human alpha-thrombin. Dr Dinakar Salunkhe, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, presented the structural studies on the carbohydrate mimics of peptides and their applications to immunology. Dr Lynne McCusker, Laboratorium fur Kristallographie, Switzerland, gave a very interesting pedagogical review of powder diffraction and demonstrated how information content present in the diffraction pattern can be extracted.


Dr. K. N. Ganesh, who coordinated the special session on '50 years of DNA structure discovery', presented an excellent review of the history of DNA research. This was followed by invited talks by experts like Professors N. Yatindra, Manju Bansal, N. Gautam and Shridhar Gadre, regarding their investigations on the structural details of the DNA.


The general body meeting of the ICA, which coincides with the annual crystallographic seminars, elected the new executive committee with Dr Krishan Lal as the new President. The meeting of SMART APEX users was coordinated by Dr (Smt.) Vedavati G. Puranik, Scientist, NCL.  The NCL was the first to get the latest Bruker SMART APEX two-dimensional detector. The proposition to form the SMART APEX user group was also made and accepted by all those who have the CCD detector in the country.


The valedictory function was presided over by Prof. M. Vijayan, the outgoing President of ICA and the present Chairman of INSA programme committee for Crystallography. Dr M.M. Bhadbhade, Joint Convener, thanked all those who helped in making the seminar successful. The seminar  concluded with a one-day workshop on 'Macromolecular Crystallography' on 11th January 2004.



THE Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun, in association with Lubrizol India Limited, recently organized a meeting with Japanese delegates representing Japanese Automotive Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and experts from Indian industry, at CSIR Vigyan Kendra, New Delhi. The objective of this meeting was to share views and experience on various issues and problems concerning lubrication of 2-stroke and 4-stroke, air cooled gasoline engines of 2-wheelers including JASO 2T & 4T oil specifications, international standards, test methods performance evaluation and trends for upgradation of these oils.


The Japanese delegation included Mr Yosinobu Yashiro of Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd; Yasuhiro Kuji of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd; Mr Akihiro Ohashi of Nippon Oil Corporation and Mr Kenji Takagi of Lubrizol Japan Ltd. About 40 experts, from 2 & 3 wheeler OEMs, oil companies (PSUs and MNCs), additive manufacturers, Automotive Research Association of India, Petroleum Conservation Research Association, Bureau of Indian Standards and R&D organizations including participants from IIP took part in deliberations.


Dr M.O. Garg, Director, IIP, extended a warm welcome to the Japanese delegates and participants from various industries. After the opening remarks from Dr M.O. Garg and Mr S.J. Inamdar of Lubrizol India, the meeting started with a brief presentation about IIP. The presentations by Japanese delegation were coordinated by Mr Kenji Takagi. Mr Yoshinobu Yashiro made brief presentations on Organisation of Motorcycle Working Group (MCWG), 10 years Plan of JAMA and a technical presentation on 'Requirements of Motorcycle Engine Oils'. Mr Akihiro Ohashi made a presentation on: JASO 2T Standards for Motorcycles - Performance requirements, 2T oil classification & test procedures; and on JASO 4T standards for motorcycle oils. Mr. Yasuhiro Kuji presented comparison of API, JASO & ISO standards for 2T & 4T oils and 'Trends of JAMA Motorcycle Working Group Activities'.


After each presentation, interactive discussions were held by the participants and problems related to lubrication of 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines especially clutch slippage, gearshifting, load bearing capacity of oil films, wear, pitting energy conserving oils, related test methods and environmental aspects etc. were discussed.


Proceedings of this meeting were summarized with emphasis on the new trends on developments of specially designed 2T and 4T oils which can contribute to the engine protection, fuel economy improvement, environmental protection and extension of oil change interval. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Dr Mukesh Saxena, Head, Engines Laboratory of IIP.



`Rising' and `Flat' Technologies: Facets of Innovation


THE National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), New Delhi, celebrated the 110th birth anniversary of Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (1894-1955), the internationally acclaimed chemist and the first Director-General (as the post was later renamed) of CSIR, on 21 February 2004. A meeting on `Rising' and `Flat' Technologies: Facets of Innovation was organized on this occasion where Dr R. Chidambaram, an architect of contemporary Indian science, who is presently Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, and senior members from several industries from all over the country discussed issues of innovation. The representatives from industry disproved the common belief that industry is not serious about innovation, especially in the areas related to manufacturing and in collaborating with a public research body such as CSIR. The participants shared their experiences charting out how they perceived Indian journey could shape up the future. Dr Chidambaram provided insights into risky and high sciences. Together they all paid a fitting tribute to the spirit of Dr Bhatnagar in the making of the CSIR.


Dr Chidambaram also released the new edition of `Life and Work of Sir S.S. Bhatnagar', written with full cooperation of Dr Bhatnagar by Norah Richards in 1948. This is our primary source of information on Bhatnagar's personal and family life. The new edition, brought out by NISTADS, has a Foreword by Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi; Preface by Dr R.A. Mashelkar; and a Review Essay by Prof. Rajesh Kochhar; an index, supplemented with digitally retouched additional photographs.


Welcoming the delegates, Prof. Rajesh Kochhar, Director, NISTADS, explained the genesis of the terms `Rising' and `Flat' technologies.  A rising technology, he explained, is one which is currently


Dr R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, delivering his address

 at the Discussion Meeting on `Rising' and `Flat' Technologies: Facets of Innovation


in a rapid phase of development.  A flat technology is one that has more or less been standardized and therefore admits only incremental improvements.  According to him, a rising technology in course of time will become flat.  The reverse flow is also possible.  Prof. Kochhar also dealt with the ramifications of globalisation in today's world in different spheres of activity. Commenting upon the recent US laws banning outsourcing of government jobs to India, he said the move should encourage India to aim at a bigger and bigger piece of the world's information technology (IT) cake.  Future belongs to those who integrate information and communication technologies (ICT) into their public life, governance and economy.  India's destiny lies in becoming world's hub for manufacture of goods based on the high-skill end of flat technologies.  In his opinion, in the high-skill area India at present holds a distinct advantage over China.  Prof. Kochhar also opined that Indian manufacturing should upgrade and become globally competitive or it would collapse and cease.  He added that there are indications that both these phenomena are already at work.  One must have a culture of manufacturing; even reverse engineering, to be able to move up the value ladder (like India's own pharmaceutical and automobile sectors).


According to Prof. Kochhar, to become the high-skill manufacturing hub, India should encourage innovation of lower orders, which need not be glamorous but profitable.  He gave the example of Pfizer that has raked in huge profits from its invention of the Viagra molecule.  But if a company were to corner world market in the lowly aspirin, it will become a blue chip company.  Finally, he stressed that there is need to appreciate that individuals are not innovative; systems are.  It is not sufficient for a social system to have in its midst manifestly creative people.  The system must also be mentally and materially in a position to encourage, recognize and most importantly, benefit from individual inventiveness as well as floating knowledge.


Dr Chidambaram in his address stressed upon the need for fostering innovation and research and development (R&D) without which India's emerging economic push would not fructify. He specifically focussed on R&D activities in automotive, nanoelectronics and pharmaceutical sectors as the key drivers for wealth creation. Emergence of nanotechnology and nanodevices is a window of opportunities as progress has been limited in this area as opposed to that in the IT software segment, he pointed out.  Stressing on the need to have two kinds of R&D in the country- globally competitive basic research and R&D that marries Indian technology and industry needs, Dr Chidambaram said, “the economy is doing well and the Prime Minister is seeking a sustained 8% annual gross domestic product growth. In high technology manufacturing, many sectors are doing well or have great potential. In all these, R&D will play an important role.”


The inaugural function was followed by technical sessions. The first technical session was chaired by Prof. Kochhar. The address by Shri A.P. Arya, Senior Vice President, Tata Motors, Jamshedpur, the first speaker in this session, represented a flat technology (automobiles). Shri Arya dwelt on the strategies being adopted in Tata Motors to foster innovation.  He started off from the early days in Tata Motors (formerly known as TELCO) when the company designed trucks and buses. Then came the days of Sumo and Safari and finally, the passenger car segment received a real boost.  The success of Indica car in India and overseas has really exemplified the success of the innovation strategies being practiced in Tata Motors in the face of fierce competition from Japanese, Korean and German multinational auto companies, he added.


The next speaker was Shri N.R. Raje, Director (R&D), Indian Oil Corporation, Faridabad.  He also represented a flat technology (petroleum).  According to Shri Raje, the fact that Indian Oil Corporation is the largest public-sector oil corporation in India has bestowed upon it the responsibility of delivering cutting edge oil refining and related technologies, at times in collaboration with other Indian R&D laboratories like the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehra Dun.  He explained the different streams of activities of Indian Oil R&D Unit from carrying out fundamental research on petroleum chemistry to applied R&D activities in process and refining technologies.  He mentioned about the increased R&D spending of the corporation over the years and the likely gains from these efforts.


The second technical session was chaired by Dr Gopalakrishnan, Senior Scientist, Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai. The first speaker in this session was Dr Anuradha Acharya, CEO, Ocimum Biosoultions, Hyderabad.  She represented a rising technology (bioinformatics). She spoke on emergence of bioinformatics sector in India, its global competitiveness and the role played by her company in the present scenario.  The bioinformatics sector is strategically placed between pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and serves as the critical information service provider for both these sectors.  She enunciated  the challenges faced by her company during the initial days when the company was trying to establish itself in this new and emerging area and the lessons learnt and experience gained through such a process.  She also talked about her company's recruitment and human relations policies as she found these crucial for her company's survival and growth in this knowledge market.


Dr R. Gautam, Director (R&D), UOP IPL, pointed out that very advanced research could be undertaken in area of petroleum. Stressing on the significance of sustainability, he called for undertaking high research, particularly that pertaining to catalysts.


Shri Kallol Roy, MD, Mark Auto, Gurgaon, said that the automobiles sector is a true flag bearer of a flat technology.  Speaking of his experiences in Maruti and at Mark Auto, he said that only incremental innovations are possible in this sector and no radical changes could be envisaged.  The experiences of Kaizan or quality circles in Maruti exemplified the fact that a large number of incremental innovations could originate from the ordinary workers on the shopfloor.  If innovative activities are to be encouraged and innovative ethos are to be created in the organization, such endeavours must be acknowledged and rewarded, he added.


The next technical session was chaired by Prof. A.C. Julka, Department of Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Dr Amit Chatterjee, Chief Technology Officer, Tata Steel (TISCO), Jamshedpur, representing a flat technology (steel), cited several instances of inventions and innovations to differentiate the two terms.  He was of the opinion that the common notion that necessity is the mother of invention is not necessarily valid.  There are many instances where invention of an item led to the search for its use.  He also highlighted some of the innovative activities which have been carried out in Tata Steel, a company that has come out from a deep crises plaguing the Indian steel industry and emerged victorious, competing well with the best internationally.  Specifically, he cited the case of the Cold Rolling Mill that was put up in a record time. He himself was the person in-charge of this activity.  Tata Steel is a typical example of the revival of the good old Indian manufacturing industry in the midst of all the talk about IT and other rising technologies.


The last speaker was Shri Ramesh Loganathan, VP (Engineering), Pramati Technologies, Hyderabad, who represented a rising technology (IT).  His presentation was basically a case study of his organization that had the vision, foresight, and courage to venture out into the area of software products (where Indian presence is very minimal) and then be counted among the top few companies in the computer server sector.  He described the differences between computer software processes and service sectors, and the computer software products sector and the reasons why Indian organizations have been more successful in the former rather than the latter.  The young entrepreneurs in this particular case were from the American Silicon Valley who came back into India to carve out a future of their own.  How could they successfully beat the odds that faced them in their endeavour and the strategies for innovation adopted by them in the process, were the issues that were brought out and explained in detail by Shri Loganathan.



How does one plan and integrate experimental data collection and analysis into the product development process right from conception to validation? A workshop on `Structural Dynamic SImulation and Testing – A Hybrid Approach, held at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore, during 10-12 March 2004, served to highlight not just this, but also the very latest `virtual engineering, technology in aircraft design, vis-à-vis dynamics and vibro-acoustics, passenger and cabin comfort, aircraft variant morphing, etc. The workshop was jointly organized by the Structures Division and the Belgium-based LMS International. It was attended by a cross-section of structural dynamic/testing groups from several labs including ISRO, VSSC, CEMILAC, RCI, ADA, ADE, IISc, IAF, etc., apart from different groups from NAL, resulting in highly interactive sessions involving presentations by experts, illustrative case studies and a modal analysis demonstration (on HANSA-3) at NAL Belur Campus.


Dr A.R. Upadhya. Associate Programme Director, ADA and also Programme Director, National Programme of Smart Materials, inaugurated the workshop with a presentation on `Structural Dynamic Simulation and Testing of Aircraft', illustrating the ongoing testing and simulation studies on the Teja (LCA) aircraft.


Over three days, the topics covered by Dr Herman Van der Auweraer and Dr Filip Deblauwe explored the potential of hybrid methods that combined virtual models with experimental data. For example, in the dynamic testing of aerospace structures, time, flexibility and reliability and integrating of modeling and test data are critical to success. An integrated approach is thus relevant, where tests are not standalone activities but are streamlined in the total design process, and their results are integrated in the design verification. The `virtual prototype engineering' approach to product development could therefore reduce the effort and time in the development process by as much as 40%. In their concluding remarks the visiting faculty were appreciative of the interaction and various projects underway at the different laboratories. The workshop concluded with fruitful feedback from the participants and constructive suggestions for further similar/related activity.



A two-day programme was organised on 27 & 28 February 2004 to celebrate the National Science Day at National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune.  Organized by the student community of NCL, the programme included poster presentations by research students, presentations by CSIR Young Scientist Awardees, Keerti Sangoram Awardees in chemical sciences, engineering sciences, physical & material sciences and biological sciences, and by Dr Rajappa awardee for research paper in organic chemistry.


About 150 posters were displayed by the research students, covering chemical sciences and other sciences related to chemistry.  Prof. Ashoke Sen, FRS, Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, delivered the Science Day lecture on `Search for a Unified Theory'.  Giving the present understanding of `Unified Theory', Prof. Sen, the youngest FRS from India, took the audience to the fascinating world of elementary particles.  Supported by simple analogies he presented very lucidly “What we are and of what everything around us is made of.”   He said we are still searching the answers for these questions, though they are being studied for the last 2000 years.  He also presented standard models and theories and explained the principles behind them.


Prof. Sen said, “There are at least four major types of forces: gravitational, electromagnetic, strong and weak forces. Many of the phenomena that we observe in day-to-day life can be ascribed to the gravitational force or electromagnetic force. However, in order to explain the physics of elementary particles, we need to postulate other two types of forces, which are known as strong force and weak force. The strong force is in particular responsible for binding the quartz inside the proton and neutron. It also binds protons and neutrons inside the nucleus. The weak force is responsible for certain kind of radioactive decay.”


Presenting the highlights of Standard Model Theory, Prof. Sen said, “Standard theory model predicted existence of several elementary particles at least ten years before they were actually discovered in an experiment.  Higgs particle, predicted by Standard Model Theory is yet to be discovered and is the goal of the experimental physicists.  Many of the predictions of the Standard Model Theory have been verified by experimental data. Standard Model has also been extremely successful in explaining all observed experimental data. Explaining the drawbacks of Standard Model Theory Prof. Sen said, “It excludes gravitational force while understanding the interactions between elementary particles.”


String theory, he said, talks of nine dimensional spaces instead of usual three dimensions.  Giving the analogy of a house with five windows, Prof. Sen said, “The five distinct possible string theories are trying to look at the same problem through different angles and large region in the room is still unexplored.”


Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL, in his welcome remarks said, “We observe the National Science Day to remember Prof. C.V. Raman, who also tried to understand the music through physics.  Prof. Raman was also a gemstone collector and was fascinated by their structures and colours and tried to understand these inorganic materials.  Diversity of interest is a hallmark of every great scientist like Prof. Raman.”  Various awards like Best Poster awards, Keerti Sangoram awards, Rajappa awards were given by Prof. Sen.  The function was organized under the auspices of NCL Research Foundation.



THE National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, observed the National Safety Day on 10 March 2004.  As a part of this event various programmes like fire-fighting demonstration, presentation of a safety plan for 2004-05 by Chairman, Safety Committee and film-shows on Chemical & Fire Safety were organized.  NCL has a Standing Committee on Lab Safety having member representation from all the divisions. In addition, divisional safety committees are constituted with representatives from scientific staff and research students. Safety convenors of the Organic Chemistry (Technology), Polymer Chemistry and Homogeneous Catalysis Division presented their divisional safety reports on safety day.


This year's safety day programme also had a special talk by Dr T. Rajgopal, Corporate Medical Advisor, Hindustan Lever Limited, Mumbai, on 'Occupational Health, Safety & Environment Management in a chemical laboratory'.  Dr. Rajgopal in his lecture stressed on risk assessment of various hazards at work place.  He said, "We also need to observe lab safety to protect ourselves from lab hazards; protect others from the hazards and comply with national regulations." He also elaborated on the employer's responsibilities in observing safety precautions and listed mandatory safety rules.


To improve safety standards, NCL has taken various measures like restricting the use of carcinogenic and highly toxic chemicals, stopping the use of mercury and benzene, replacing mercury vacuum gauges with digital gauges, installation of air-operated diaphragm pumps with clutch operated dispensing nozzles for the safe distribution of solvents, periodic safety training programme with the aid of external experts, installation of 70 fire extinguishers, 22 additional eye-wash fountains and 5 new safety showers, etc.


Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL, in his welcome remarks emphasized on various issues related to lab and fire safety.  He informed, "We at NCL are phasing out the use of mercury-based thermometers and pressure gauges and restricting the use of benzene.  We need to imbibe safety as a culture at our workplace by thinking individually and collectively. We should ask ourselves questions on safety like, "Are we doing right way?"  Last year, we created annual plan for safety.  We have made the Safety Committee as a Standing Committee and we see that the committee meets at least every three months to review the safety in every division and try to resolve the problems faced.  New safety annual plan for 2004-05 will be announced and introduced from 1 April."  He further said, "This year we wish to ensure that all the young people who enter into this lab are given reasonable orientation towards safety. It will be a quarterly two-day orientation course so that no individual, a research fellow or project assistant spends more than three months in a lab without attending the safety course."



Prof. C.N.R. Rao's Lecture at NGRI


PROF. C.N.R. Rao, FRS, Linus Pauling Research Professor, JN Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, delivered a lecture on 'Science of the Future: New Challenges for India' under distinguished lecture programme at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, on 16 February 2004. In his lecture, Prof. Rao outlined an alternative science policy for the country to take on the challenges of the 21st century. He said that science in India was challenged by a severe deficit of funding as well as social attitude, which encouraged youngsters to pursue quick riches rather than excellence and achievements in their fields.


He emphasized the need for much larger government investment in basic science research and cautioned that the gap between the developed countries and India has increased in the past 50 years in this field. He said South Korea has been investing about 5% of its GDP in science and another 8% in education while the figures for India were 1 and 3% respectively. He opined that a minimum of 3% of the GDP should be spent on basic research.


Earlier, Dr V.P. Dimri, Director, NGRI, welcomed Prof. Rao and gave a brief account of the institute's achievements.


Dr S.K. Verma, Scientist, proposed a vote of thanks.



New Director Dr T.K. Chandrashekar


DR Tavarekere K. Chandrashekar who took over as Director, Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram (w.e.f. 28 November 2003), has made noteworthy contributions to the chemistry of tetrapyrrole pigments and related macrocycles for their use as: Photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy; Model compounds for photosynthetic intermediates; Molecular receptors for neutral, cationic and anionic substrates; Catalysts for organic conversions; and Supramolecular systems for molecular devices. He has published 93 papers in refereed journals including five review articles. He has worked on 11 sponsored research projects, and delivered 31 invited lectures in various national and international symposia and conferences.


In addition to his role as an active R&D scientist, Dr Chandrashekar has made significant contributions to the promotion of science as a whole. As Convenor of the Kanpur Chapter of Chemical Research Society of India, he organized regional meetings on selected topics so as to provide an opportunity to young researchers to congregate and share their excitement in the various areas, organized lectures by eminent scientists, promoted activities in chemical education at all levels involving teachers and students, organized exhibitions/contests to enhance the image of chemistry and visibility of CRSI, promoted academic research/industry interaction at various levels and organized programmes to celebrate important milestones in chemical research.


As a member of Indian Chemical Society, Dr Chandrashekar has been involved in promotion of Science and Technology in under-developed urban and rural areas. Under these programmes, annual activities were planned to teach the young children about the facets of science and their benefits to the people at large. Workshops and seminars were conducted on a regular basis to activate the young students to pursue science as a career. He was awarded `P.R. Ray Memorial Award for the year 2002' by Indian Chemical Society, Kolkata, for his contributions.


Born (1 Jan 1956), Dr Chandrashekar did his B.Sc. (1976) with Physics and Chemistry and M.Sc. (1978) in Chemistry from the Mysore University. He did his Ph.D. (1982) from IISc, Bangalore, and Post-Doc (1982-84) in Photochemistry and Physical Chemistry from University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA. He worked in Biophysical Chemistry as Research Associate (1984-86) at Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA. He worked as lecturer (July 1986-March 1987), Assistant Professor (April 1987-Feb. 1991), Associate Professor (March 1991-Nov. 1995), and Professor (Nov. 1995-27 Nov. 2003) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.


He was a Visiting Scientist at University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA (1 May 1988-27 July 1988); Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (1 Dec. 1993-31 Dec. 1999) at University of Koln, Germany; Visiting Scientist (1 Dec. 1999-31 Dec. 1999) at Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka, Japan and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (1 May 1999-31 August 1999) at Frie University, Berlin, Germany. The various honours/awards received by him include: Mcknight Fellowship (1984-86) of Michigan, USA; Homi Bhabha Award (1993) for excellence in research; Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1993-94); Fellowship of National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad (1996), Fellowship of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1999); CRSI Bronze Medal for significant contributions to chemistry (2000); Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Chemical Sciences (2001); Fellowship of Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi (2002); and Chemito Award (2003). He is Life member of Chemical Society of India (CRSI); Member of American Chemical Society, USA; Society for Porphyrins and Phthalocyanies, France; Society for Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, USA; and Convenor of CRSI, Kanpur Chapter. He has 17 years of teaching experience at B.Tech, M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels, <%4>supervised 9 Ph.D. theses, and six students are currently working for their Ph.D. degree, about 22 students worked for their M.Sc. thesis project work under his supervision.



DR J.S. Yadav, Director, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, has been honoured with the prestigious Vigyan Gaurav Samman for the year 2003-04 by Mohd. Azam Khan, Minister for Science & Technology, Government of Uttar Pradesh, in recognition of his excellent scientific contributions to the human resource development and to the benefit of the society.


Dr J.S. Yadav is an eminent organic chemist and a rare architect in building potential research groups with state-of-art facilities. He has to his credit 385 scientific publications and 42 patents.


Dr Yadav has developed several new methods useful in organic synthesis especially for enantiomerically pure allylic and acetylenic alcohols and for spiroacetals. He has shown insight and skill in executing the synthesis of complex natural products like Taxol, Camptothecin, Discodermalide, Scytophycin and polyhydroxy unsaturated fatty acids, which have great societal benefits. His conceptual originality in designing the synthesis of complex molecules with viable synthons is simply outstanding.


He has pioneered the alternative eco-friendly and environmentally safe pest control technologies in India to the highly toxic pesticides methods, using the application of insect pheromones through Integrated Pest Management. His contributions in pheromone application technologies for the control of pests on cotton, rice, groundnut and other vegetable crops are highly remarkable and applaudable.


Dr Yadav is a rare architect in building potential research groups with state of the art facilities. His group is a center for scientific human resources. Fifty students have received their Ph.D. degree under his guidance. Dr Yadav is also a recipient of Vigyan Ratna Samman, Ranbaxy and Vasvik Awards, the very prestigious recognitions given to an outstanding chemist of the country for the year 2002.



THE recently concluded International Food Convention, IFCON-2003, saw the scientists and other researchers at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, getting awards in bagful. While several young researchers got prizes for their poster presentations, the following scientists were presented awards for their contribution to the Food Science and Technology:


Dr N. G. Malleshi, Scientist, Grain Science and Technology Department, was conferred Fellowship of AFST(I) for his outstanding contribution to Food Science and Technology and to the Indian Food Industry. Dr Malleshi has made noteworthy contributions in the field of food grain science, processing and product development.


Dr S. Divakar, Scientist, Fermentation Technology and BioEngineering Department, was conferred Fellowship of AFST(I) for academic excellence and overall contribution in the area of Food Science and Technology. Dr Divakar has been studying enzyme-mediated synthesis of food additives, such as flavours, sweeteners and surfactant esters.


Dr G. Muralikrishna, Scientist, Department of Biochemistry & Nutrition, was conferred the Laljee Godhoo Smarak Nidhi Award for the year 2002 for his excellent research contributions in the area of food carbohydrates and the enzymes degrading carbohydrates.