The Chemistry Department was started in 1884 with Mr. H.N. Read as the first professor, who retired as Principal of the college in 1892. Dr. A.W. Bishop, a great
football enthusiast, succeeded him upto 1912. He was responsible for the collection of scientific journals dating back to the 1890s and also for the collection of rare
minerals which are now with the Department of Geology. Mr. C.S. Gibson was the next Professor. He was followed by Mr. Krishnaswamy Iyer, the first Indian to chair
the Department. Dr. K.N. Modugill, the next Professor (from 1921), was the youngest to man the Department. He had his M.A. from Cambridge during the 1st World
War and had done part of his PhD work there. He completed his PhD work here and received his doctorate from the University of Glasgow in 1924. He along with Mr.
K.R. Krishna Iyer and Mr. Sitarama Iyer formed a 'trio' engaged in active research in the department. Mr. K.R. Krishna Iyers work on the equivalent weight of
Zirconium present in the Travancore beach sand mineral zircon took him very near discovering hafnium, the element which accompanies Zirconium, but missed it.
Dr. Modugill became Principal in 1938, the same year in which the Travancore University was formed. (Prior to which the Department was affiliated to the University
of Madras). He was also the first Director of Research of the University and also the Pro-Chancellor of the University. As an organizer of research he could help in
developing a Complex of Chemical Industries in the State. Mr. K.R. Krishna Iyer succeeded Dr. Modugill as Professor and in 1943 the Post Graduate Course was
started with four students. Teaching of Chemistry for the Engineering Course and the Textile Technology Course was entrusted with the Department during his period.
In 1948, Dr. A.N. Potti became the next Professor and was the first old student of the Department to chair the department. He was the first to take PhD by doing the
entire work in these laboratories. Honours course - a three year course after the intermediate - was started in 1951, which was abolished in 1957 when the new three
year degree course was started. During the tenure of Dr. Potti, the Department got fully equipped for P.G. Teaching.
Dr. Potti retired as Principal in 1957 and was succeeded by Dr. N.S. Warrier. As Officer-in-Charge of the food testing scheme ordered by the Government in 1958,
he successfully tackled the contamination of enormous quantities of food-stuffs by the deadly poison, Folidol; the successful analytical work done in the Department.
There was a cross fertilization of scientific ideas between the Department and other Scientific institution during that period. As an instance, one may recollect the
experiments done in the Research lab of the Department by the chemists of TERLS in the early 1960s (before the Lab of Thumba was constructed), with a view to
develop polymeric materials as fuels.
When B. Pharm course was started, the instruction in chemistry, both theory and practical was assigned to the Department on a part time basis, until the course
was entirely confined within the campus of the Medical College. Dr. N.S. Warrier became the Principal in 1964. During 1966, when Dr. N.S. Warrier was the Principal,
the centenary o f the college was celebrated in an unparalleled gala function both at Trivandrum and New Delhi. His Excellency Dr. S. Radhakrishnan the then
President of India inaugurated the function at the College campus.
Prof. R. Ramachandra Iyer, Prof. C. Surendranath, Prof. P. Goplaramam, Prof. N.N. Panicker, Prof. Elizabeth Koshy, Prof. V. Chakrapani Achary became HODs
in succession and the list continues...
When the college came under the Government by the Kerala University Act (1957), the status of the Department as part of the University and accompanying funding
by the University ceased to exist and the Department started feeling the shortage of facilities.
The department celebrated its centenary in 1986. Prof. V. Chakrapani Achary was the Head of the Department at that time and Prof. A. Nabeesa Ummal was the
Principal of the college. His Excellency the Governor of Kerala, Sri. P. Ramachandran inaugurated the function. Seminars and Demonstration Classes were highlights
of this function.
The M Phil course in Chemistry was started in 1994 with an intake of 5 students.
The existing faculty consists of fifteen teachers. Among them, 7 hold PhD degrees and 7 are engaged in Part time research. The department also has the service of
three non-teaching staff.
The department has a well equipped Library with over 5,000 books. The department also has a rare collection of chemical abstracts and scientific journals. There
are five labs, B Sc. Main lab, B Sc. Sub lab, M Sc Inorganic - Organic lab, M Sc Physical lab and the Research lab.
There are 14 students each for I and II M Sc, 50 each for I, II and III DC main, 105 students each for I DC and II DC subsidiary and 30 students each for I DC and
II DC Biochemistry subsidiary.
The department has produced and continues to produce eminent persons, occupying envious positions in every walk of life. Former Governer Sri. Pattom Thanu
Pillai, former Chief Ministers Sri. C. Kesavan and Sri. R. Sankar were students of this Department. Several former students occupy reputed positions in the
Universities, IITs, BARC, VSSC, CSIR, Industries and Administrative services.
The Department is currently UGC-FIST supported. The department has purchased a number of Scientific Instruments in recent years to facilitate the ongoing research
The department conducts B Sc, M Sc and M Phil courses. The Department is also a recognized Research Centre under the University of Kerala for doing PhD
( Full time and Part time ). The intake for B Sc Chemistry Course is 50 students and that for M Sc Chemistry Course is 14. The sanctioned strength for the M Phil
course is 5 per year.
Activities of the Department
The Department conducts a quiz competition every year for college students in fond memory of Dr. N. S. Warrier, who was a stalwart of this department.
A good number of scholarships are also presented to students each year.
University College Chemistry Department Welfare Committee: University College Chemistry Department Welfare Committee is an organization of well-wishers of
the Department including old students, retired teachers and their family members. Every year, the Welfare Committee and the Department jointly organize an Inter
Collegiate Quiz competition in memory of the eminent professor and reputed social figure, Dr. N. Subramonia Wariyar and award five endowments in the name of
former Professors to students for their excellence in studies.
The department is actively engaged in research activities in different fields of chemistry. The Department had a gleaming history of effective collaborations with
scientific institutions in the state. The Department had links with TERLS in the early nineteen sixties (before the lab of Thumpa was constructed). The phenomenal
success of VSSC in developing superior quality rocket propellants makes one look back and think of the modest and silent experiments done in the Research lab of
the Department. Various other scientific initiatives in the state also consulted the Department on many an occasion during their formative period. Dr. N.S. Warrier, one
of the Professors of the Department and later the Principal of University College, was appointed as Officer-in-charge of the Food Testing Scheme ordered by the
Government In 1958. He successfully tackled the contamination of enormous quantities of food grains and other food stuffs by the deadly poison, Folidol. This
successful analytical work done in the Department shows that the Department was always alert to respond to the call of duty and service to the state. The department
also had a notable history in different frontiers of chemistry; Research works done on the Aromatic Resources of Kerala (by Mr. P. Madhavan Pillai), Surface P
henomena (by Mr. K. P. Dharmaraja Iyer), Utility of rare earth compounds as catalysts in organic reactions (by Mr. V. Chakrapani Achary) etc are a few to mention.
At present, the department has active research in the field of Plant chemistry, Coordination chemistry and Nano chemistry. This is apparent by the
publications that appear in reputed Indian and Foreign journals. UGC supported projects are being carried out in the department.
Dr. M. L. Harikumaran Nair, Associate Professor of this department works in the synthesis of novel complexes of transition and inner transition metal ions using
polydentate ligands especially Schiff bases and azo dyes derived from various substituted aromatic amines. He has over 25 years of experience in this field and is a
recognised guide under the University of Kerala. Currently 5 students are doing PhD under his guidance. He has about 40 papers in his account in journals of national
and international repute.
Dr. M.K. Sreedhar and Prof. G. Rajeev carry out research in the field of Polyoxometalate Nanosorbent for Environmental Remediation. The objectives of this study
is to synthesise polyoxometalate nanosorbents, characterize and investigate their roll in the cost-effective removal of water pollutants like mercury, lead, chromium,
cadmium, arsenic, molybdenum and vanadium, which are soluble, non-degradable and accumulating toxic heavy metal ions that can reach the top of the food chain
and thus become a risk factor for human health.
Instrumental Facilities available in the Department
Infra-red Spectrophotometer (Perkin Elmer, Spectrum 65)
UV-Vis Spectrophotometer (Perkin Elmer, Lambda 25)
Magnetic Susceptibility Balance (Sherwood Scientific, UK)
UV-Vis Spectrophotometer Single Beam (Systronics)
The minor instruments includes; Polarograph, Polarimeter, Digital Potentiometer, Electronic balances, Conductivity meter, Refractometer, etc..
History of the Department
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY
CHEMISTRY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Sponsored by B Sc Chemistry 1997 – 2000 batch
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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CHEMISTRY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION (UCCAA)
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