Tuticorin Raghavachari Govindachari obtained his PhD (1956) from the University of Madras with a specialization was in organic chemistry. He was Professor of Chemistry, Presidency College, Chennai (1950-63); Principal, Presidency College, Chennai (1961-62); Director, Ciba-Geigy, Research Centre, Mumbai (1963-75) and subsequently Director, Centre for Agrochemical Research, SPIC (Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation) Science Foundation, Chennai.
Academic and Research Achievements: TR Govindachari’s research career, spanning a period of more than six decades was highly fruitful as evidenced by his publications numbering about 340, mostly in the field of Natural Products Chemistry which he pursued with single-minded devotion and tenacity, unmindful of changing fads and fashions in research trends. His work covered the isolation and structure elucidation of a broad spectrum of natural products like alkaloids, terpenoids, oxygen heterocycles and other classes. He also contributed significantly to the synthesis of heterocycles like isoquinolines, phenathridines, benzophenanthridines, pridophenanthridines (aporphines) and dibenzoquinolizines (protoberberines), terpenes, flavones, furocoumarins – often related to the structures he had elucidated and occasionally representing total systhesis. He elucidated the structure of tylophorine (from Tylophora asthamatica), tiliacorine (from Tiliacora racemosa), Echitamine (from Alstonia scholaris), Ropsine (from Kopsia fruticosa), Gentianine (Gentiana kirlowi), karpaine (Carica papaya), ancistroclaline (Ancistrocladus heynearus) – are some of the unique structural types not report earlier. In addition , major investigations were carried out on the constituents of neem (Azadirachta indica)
Other Contributions: Govindachari served on the Editorial Boards of the journals Indian Journal of Chemistry, Medicinal and Aromatic plants Abstracts and The Wealth of India. He was a Member of the Bureau of International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (1963-70); Member, INSA Council (1966-68).
Awards and Honours: Dr Govindachari was a recipient of the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1960), the Meghnad Saha Medal (1975) and the Golden Jubilee Commemoration Medal (1986) both of INSA, Professor K Venkataraman Endowment Lectureship of Bombay University, Dr Mahendra Lal Sircar Memorial Lectureship of IACS and PC Ray Lifetime Achivement Award of Chemical Research Society of India. He was a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Member Royal Society of Chemistry, the Americal Chemical Society and the Swiss Chemical Society.