Previous Directors

Dr. K. Vijayamohanan Pillai (2015-2016)


Dr. K. Vijayamohanan Pillai completed B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from University of Kerala in 1980 and 1982, respectively and obtained his Ph.D. in Electrochemistry / Material Science from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1991. He is a distinguished material chemist and electrochemist and has huge experience of teaching and has been involved in the research focused on electrochemistry, material chemistry and energy storage that cover sensors, nanoclustors, self-assembled monolayers, carbon nanotubes, graphene, hybrid materials fuel cells, batteries and ultracapacitors

Dr. K. Vijayamohanan, the Director of CSIR-CECRI, Karaikudi held additional charge of CSIR-NCL from June 1, 2015 to February 28, 2016.

Dr. Vijayamohanan started his career by joining CSIR-NCL in April 1991 and rose to become an outstanding scientist in June 2010. He left CSIR-NCL in April 2012 in order to join CSIR-CECRI as Director.


Dr. Sourav Pal (2010-2015)


Dr. Sourav Pal obtained the integrated masters degree in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1977 and Ph.D. from Calcutta University in 1982. He joined CSIR-NCL on 9th December 1982 and became the ninth Director of CSIR-NCL in 2010.

Dr. Pal was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA (1986-87) and has been Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (1987).

Dr. Pal as a distinguished theoretical chemist contributed to its methodological and conceptual development. He headed the Physical and Materials Chemistry Division and Center for Material Characterization before assuming as a Director.

Dr. Pal served for more than two years as Professor (HAG) at Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Mumbai.

Currently, Dr. Pal is Director at the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, Kolkata.


Dr. S. Sivaram (2002-2010)


Dr. Swaminathan Sivaram is a polymer chemist, mentor and science manager of distinction. Dr. Sivaram has over forty years of experience in basic research, process/product R&D and S&T management, both, in industry and academia. He is widely recognized for his contributions to polymer science, technology development, institution building and management of innovation in publicly funded organizations.

An alumnus of IIT-Kanpur (M.Sc. 1967), he received his Ph.D in Chemistry from Purdue University, W. Lafayette, Indiana, USA in 1971.

Currently Dr. Sivaram is Honorary Professor and INSA Senior Scientist at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune.


Dr Paul Ratnasamy (1995-2002)


Dr. Paul Ratnasamy was born on June 11, 1942. He had his higher education (B.Sc. 1961, M.Sc., 1963 and Ph.D., 1967) at Loyola College, Madras. He subsequently joined the Clarkson College of Technology, Potsdam, New York as a Post doctoral fellow with Prof. D. Rosenthal (1967-69) and then moved to the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium as a research associate under Prof. J.J. Friplat (1969-72).

Before joining NCL in 1979, he spent few years at Indian institute of Petroleum, Dehra Dun and one year at the University of Munchen as a Senior Humboldt Fellowto work with Prof. H. Knozinger. He established the Catalysis Division at NCL in 1980 and was its Head until he took over as the Director in 1996. He stepped down on his superannuation in June 2002.


Dr. R.A. Mashelkar (1989-1995)


Dr. Raghunath Anant Mashelkar was born in 1943. After obtaining his Ph.D. from Bombay University in 1969, he occupied various academic positions in Europe and USA , namely, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at University of Salford in England (1969-76), and Visiting Professor at University of Delaware (1975) prior to returning to India.

Dr. Mashelkar joined NCL as a scientist in 1976. He rose to the position of Head, Chemical Engineering Division in October 1978 and became the sixth Director of NCL in 1989.


Dr. L.K. Doraiswamy (1978-1989)


Dr. L.K. Doraiswamy received his B.S. from the University of Madras and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. He joined NCL in 1954. By the time he retired in 1989, Doraiswamy had served as the first non-chemist Director at NCL.


Prof. B. D. Tilak (1966-1978)


Professor Bal Dattatreya Tilak was born on September 26, 1918. He graduated in Chemistry from S. P. College, Pune in 1933 and in Textile Chemistry from the Department of Chemical Technology, Bombay in 1939. He later obtained the Ph.D. degree in Textile Chemistry in 1943. Prof. Tilak had also taken the D. Phil. (Organic Chemistry, 1946) and the D.Sc. (1960) degrees from the Oxford University. Prof. Tilak carried out post-doctoral research under Prof. Sir Robert Robinson (Nobel Laureate and President of Royal Society) (1944-46) and Prof. R. B. Woodward, Nobel Laureate, Harvard University (1960-61).


Prof. K. Venkataraman (1957-1966)


Prof. K. Venkataraman had the distinction of being the first Indian Director of NCL. Born in 1901, he obtained his Ph.D. under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Sir Robert Robinson and D.Sc. from University of Manchester, UK, and joined the Forman Christian College, Lahore, in 1929. He became the Director of the University Department of Chemical Technology, Bombay, in 1938. Even before he took over as Director in 1957, he was associated with NCL as a member of the Planning Committee and of the special committee constituted for choosing the site for the laboratory. This association continued later when he was the chairman of the Chemical Research Committee and NCL's Executive Council.


Prof. G. I. Finch (1952-1957)


George Ingle Finch was born in Orange, New South Wales on 4 August 1888. He studied at ETH, Zurich from 1906 to 1991 and later at the University of Geneva. As a consequence of his discovery of an improved ammonia catalyst for the synthesis of ammonia, he became associated with Badische Anilin and Sodafabrik' and spent a period as manager in one of their subsidiaries. This interest in technical application of science aroused and stimulated by his period at Zurich, remained a feature of all the diverse scientific activities of Finch in later life. In 1919, he was appointed as Lecturer in Electrochemistry at Imperial College and in 1927 as Assistant Professor. His extensive scientific activities were recognized by his appointment in 1936 to a Chair of Applied Physical Chemistry, a post he held until his retirement in 1952 to become Director of NCL.


Prof. J. W. McBain (1950-1952)

m c bain

Born on March 22, 1882 at Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada, Dr J.W. McBain was educated in Rhode Island in his early years; Dr McBain had his training for bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Toronto, wherefrom he obtained A.B. in 1903 and M.A. in 1904. Dr McBain obtained Ph.D. degree in 1906 and soon after actively associated himself with plans for the new University of Bristol, England, where he joined as Lecturer in Physical Chemistry. In 1927, Dr McBain accepted an invitation from the Stanford University, California as Professor of Chemistry.