Year of Establishment : 1914 (1886 in Presidency Campus)
History of the department : With the progress of time, the Department of Chemistry of the University of Calcutta has experienced a remarkable development and has grown into one of the topmost national teaching and research centers in Chemistry. As a pioneer of academic deliberation and research activity, the department has greatly contributed to produce talents who are leading the national and global scenario. It is well-known that this department started functioning since the foundation of the University College of Science, and the foundation stone was laid by the great visionary Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice-Chancellor, on 27th March 1914. Prior to this, the post-graduate classes in Chemistry had been conducted at Presidency College. The University College of Science at 92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata (now renamed as Rashbehari Siksha Prangan) undertook the program of teaching the subjects of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics in 1914. The newly-established University College of Science was aided generously by the great philanthropists and nationalists of that time, particularly Sir Rashbehari Ghosh, Sir Tarak Nath Palit and Kumar Guruprasad Singh of Khaira. This institute, in turn, took a vital role in the spreading of science education and research throughout the subcontinent. Teaching and research in Chemistry at our department was initiated by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, Profulla Chandra Mitter, Jnan Chandra Ghosh and Jnanendra Nath Mukherjee. Among other eminent personalities who joined the department later and enriched its scholarly activities were Jogendra Chandra Bardhan, Priyadaranjan Ray, Pulin Behari Sarkar, Bhupendra Nath Ghosh, Prafulla Kumar Bose, Jnanendra Nath Roy, (Mrs.) Asima Chatterjee, Sadhan Basu, etc.
Our department has a long tradition of carrying out high-quality research in several areas of Chemistry. Outstanding contributions have been made in the fields of Natural Product Chemistry, Organic Synthesis, Heterocyclic Chemistry, Coordination Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Colloid and Surface Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry. In addition, emphasis is being given to several frontiers of chemistry like Organometallic Chemistry, Catalysis, Synthetic Methodology, Selective Bond Activation, Drug Development from Natural Products, Green Chemistry, Surfactant Chemistry, Fabrication of Organic and Inorganic Materials, Organic Electronics, Photochemistry, Carbohydrate Chemistry, Protein Engineering, Bio-Organic, Bio-Inorganic and Bio-Physical Chemistry, Crystal Engineering, Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, etc. Collaborative research activities are also going on with intra-departmental and inter-departmental faculty members of this university, sister Universities and research institutes in India and abroad.
In recognition of the contributions made by the department towards research, the University Grants Commission selected it to operate a Special Assistance Program on Natural Products in 1972. Since 1987, this had been upgraded to a venture of Advanced Studies of Natural Products. An UNESCO-UNDP program operated in the Department for a number of years. A COSIST program (UGC) operated during the period 1995-1999 in the thrust areas of Photo-Physical Studies, Coordination Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry. In 2000, the Department started a DST-FIST program and had successfully completed the project; subsequently, a new DST-FIST project was sanctioned of about rupees two crore which was a major boost up for instrument facility in this Department. We have also received UPE UGC scheme for GC-MS instrument. Several theory groups of the department have now the state-of-the-art computational facilities. Internet facilities are available all over the Department and its upgradation to ultrafast optical fiber networking system is also completed. Recently, the department has been recognized as a UGC-Center for Advanced Studies for the fifth time [CAS(V)] in Chemistry with a grant of more than 3 crore rupees.
The Department is quite well-equipped with several sophisticated instruments for research. These include 300 MHz NMR (Bruker), single crystal XRD (Bruker), GC-MS (Perkin Elmer), FT-IR Spectrophotometer, Fluorescence Life-Time Measurement, Fluorimeter (Perkin Elmer), UV-vis Spectrophotometer (Hltachi), HPLC (Shimadzu), Polarimeter (Perkin Elmer), UV-VIS-NIR Spectrophotometers (Perkin Elmer), React IR (Mettler Toledo), DLS (Malvern), Dye Laser, Nd-YAG Laser, ESI-MS (Waters) and many others.
From the academic session 2007-2009, the Department has introduced a Semester System with a major modification in the M. Sc. curriculum and examination system. New courses like Modern Spectroscopic techniques, Nano-Chemistry, Advanced Synthetic strategies, Green Chemistry, Molecular Magnetism, Computational Chemistry, Statistical and Numerical methods, Bio-Inorganic, Bio-Organic, Bio-Physical and Bio-Analytical Chemistry have been introduced, along with the project works and seminar presentations. Our M. Sc. students are performing excellently well in national competitive examinations such as NET (UGC-CSIR) and GATE (IIT). Some are also qualifying the GRE regularly to join the Ph. D. programs abroad every year. Our department has also adopted the UGC norms for the Ph. D. registration of the Research Scholars by introducing a one semester course work. International symposiums were organized in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014 and one National Symposium has been organized in 2016. A number of books and a large number of scientific papers (> 100 per year) are published in the international journals of Nature Publishing Groups, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, Wiley, Royal Society of Chemistry, Science Direct etc. each year.
Our faculty members are highly recognized for their contribution in academics. In recent years several members of our faculty have been rewarded by the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) and one of our faculty members has been rewarded by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), DST, India.
Our department has taken appropriate initiative to commemorate the pioneering contributions made by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, who started Chemistry research in India. A museum was set up in 1997 in the historic room of the department in which he used to live and work.
In all its endeavor, the department strives to live up to the lofty ideals set up by its founders, and the eminent personalities who helped it thrive.
Special award/ recognition from UGC or related statutory body : UGC Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) for consecutive five times
Campus : Rashbehari Sikha Prangan
Address for communication : 92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata - 700 009