Nedumangattu Kesava Panikkar received DSc (1938) from University of Madras. He worked as Head, Zoology Department, University College, Tiruvananthapuram; Director, Zoological Laboratory, University of Madras; Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India; Director, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute; Fishery Development Adviser, Government of India; Director, International Indian Ocean Expedition and National Institute of Oceanography, Panaji; Member, National Commission on Agriculture; and Vice-Chancellor, University of Cochin.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Panikkar specialized in Crustacean physiology, marine fisheries, and oceanography. He organized fisheries research in India; the fisheries extension service in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and expanded the deep sea fishing station at Mumbai. He also helped plan the Indo- Norwegian fisheries project in Kerala. Using INS Kistna, he made 22 cruises in the Indian Ocean and collected massive data. He organized the Indian Ocean Biological Centre-jointly set up by CSIR and UNESCO at Cochin, for sorting zooplankton collections made by 25 ships during the Expedition. The work on zooplankton resulted in the compilation of a series of Zooplankton Atlases edited by Dr Panikkar. Under his leadership, India made significant contributions to the study of the Indian Ocean. The successful completion of IIOE in 1965 formed the nucleus of ocean research in India and the birth of a new Institution – the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) under CSIR in 1966.
Other Contributions: Owing to his efforts, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Central Institute of Fisheries Education and Central Institute of Fisheries Operatives were established. He served as Member of the INSA Council (1961-62, 1969-71), and also Kerala State Planning Board. He was on the Editorial boards of many journals, including Journal of the Zoological Society of India, Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Indian Journal of Marine Science, and Marine Biology.
Awards and Honours: Dr Panikkar won Galathea Medal of Denmark (1953); Sir Dorabji Tata Medal by Zoological Society of India (1961-63); Chandrakala Hora Medal by INSA (1971); and Padma Shri (1973). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Royal Society of Arts, London, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, and Indian Geophysical Union; also Chairman, Science and Technology, Kerala Government; and Secretary, INSA (1965-68).