Prof. Ram Prasad Mitra, F.N.A.


        Born on 1st October 1904, Ram Prasad Mitra had his higher education in Calcutta University and had a brilliant academic record. He secured the gold medal for the first position in MSc examination in Chemistry and won the prestigious Mouat medal and the Premchand Roychand Scholarship of the University of Calcutta. The early part of his career was spent in Calcutta where he enjoyed research fellowship (1933-46) in the ICAR scheme on “Investigations on Soil Colloids” and his pioneering research work on soil colloids earned for him the degree of Doctor of Science.


        Dr Mitra joined Delhi University in 1946 and became a Reader in Chemistry in 1947, Professor in 1951 and Senior Professor in 1966 the position he held till his retirement in 1970. Professor Mitra was also the Dean of the Faculty of Science during 1966-67. On retirement, he was appointed Honorary Professor of the University of Delhi.


        Dr Mitra was an excellent and stimulating teacher and he was deeply adored by his innumerable students. More than thirty scholars who obtained their doctorate degrees under his guidance are today holding very important and responsible positions in India and abroad. Because of his immense love for teaching and research, he had refused several lucrative offers including the coveted position of Member, Union Public Service Commission (1964).


        Professor Mitra was a fellow of the National Institute of Science in India (now Indian National Science Academy) and of the Indian Chemical Society. He was elected President of Chemistry Section at the 49th Session of the Indian Science Congress. He was associated with a large number of national committees in various capacities. Professor Mitra was Secretary of the Indian Society of Soil Science during 1646-1947.


        The major areas of his research activity have been structural chemistry of clay minerals and their colloid chemical properties, theoretical and experimental electrochemistry, X-ray and electron diffraction study, crystal structure, kinetics of formation and degradation of polyphosphates, physical chemistry of proteins and synthetic polypeptides, photochemistry of cyanide complexes, surface chemistry and quantum chemistry. He applied the principles of physical chemistry in elucidation of such phenomena as ion exchange in soil clays and clay minerals and their structural chemistry. His work established that simple pH-titration curves may be used effectively to reveal several phenomena of bonding of protons and other cations to the clay minerals. His paper on ‘Electrochemical aspects of ion exchange in clays’ is a monumental work. His contributions in the series of publications ‘Nature and reactions responsible for soil acidity’ are of outstanding value and have helped to explain t cause of soil acidity. His studies on electron diffraction diagrams of textured clay mineral aggregates especially with their basic reflections and orientve proved particularly useful in rapid identification of clay minerals. Professor Mitras research findings are quoted in many standard textbooks on soils. In recognition of his pioneering research work, he was invited as a guest speaker by several Universities and Institutes in UK, USA and USSR. In Professor RP Mitra, we find a rare combination of erudition with humanism and austerity with large heartedness. He symbolised, we believe, the concept of an ideal teacher, guide and a gentleman.




































    No.                              Names


1.                                    Professor SK Mukherjee 1984

2.                                    Professor CNR Rao 1985

3.                                    Professor PT Narasimhan 1986

4.                                    Professor RP Rastogi 1987

5.                                    Professor Mihir Chowdhury 1988

6.                                    Professor (Mrs) KK Rohtagi Mukherjee 1989

7.                                    Professor RV Gopala Rao 1990

8.                                    Professor SK Rangarajan 1991

9.                                    Professor Asis Dutta 1992

10.                               Professor ML Lakhan Pal 1993

11.                               Professor Jai P Mittal 1994

12.                               Professor D Bala Subramanian 1995

13.                               Professor RA Mashelkar 1996

14.                               Professor SK Brahmchari 1997

15.                               Professor P Raghunathan 1998

16.                               Professor DVS Jain 1999

17.                               Professor BM Deb2000

18.                               Professor CL Chetrapal 2001

19.                               Professor N Sathyamurthy2002

20.                               Professor SK Dogra 2003

21.                               Professor KJ Rao 2004

22.                               Professor Debashis Mukherjee 2005





Prof. D.D. Sarma comments about his visit to Dept. of Chemistry:


 “Thanks for making my trip so memorable.”


“I will encourage good candidates to join Dept. of Chemistry.”



Student comments about Prof. D.D. Sarma talk:


 “Talk was amazing.”  : Asher (M.Sc. )


 “Talk was mind boggling.”  : Anonymous (Ph.D.)



Dr. Ashok Prasad comment about 23rd Mitra Memorial Lecture:


“Thanks for very successful organization of the 23rd Mitra Memorial Lecture and nice pictures of the occasion. Good tradition.”