Divya Darshan Pant did his DPhil (1950) from University of Allahabad. He was INSA Senior Scientist, Head and Senior Professor of Botany and Dean, Science Faculty, University of Allahabad; and also Executive Councillor, Allahabad and Kumaon universities.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Pant established himself as a world authority on Glossopteris flora, pteridophytes and gymnosperms in general and cycads in particular. His interpretation of the compressed organs of Glossopteris and related genera including their vegetative parts and fructifications, have been vividly confirmed by the subsequent findings of permineralized fossils. He reconstructed Glossopteris as a tall deciduous tree. He was able to show that Diphyllopteris was possibly a vertically compressed seedling of Glossopteris. He envisaged that the Glossopteris flora was dominated by glossopterid trees and also that the Lower Gondwana coal was autochthonous in origin. Pant and his students described the diversity of woods, megaspores, fructifications and seeds found in Glossopteris flora. He was also an authority on stomatal development and anatomy of vascular plants. He authored new concepts on classification of gymnosperms, fossil spores and pollen, gametophytic nature of Rhynia gwynee-vaughani, phyletic slide of fern annulus and conifer cone evolution. His work is extensively quoted in reviews and textbooks of botany, palaeobotany and palynology. (which was later revised as Introduction to Gymnosperms, Cycas and Cycadales, published by Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, 2002). Professor Pant earned worldwide recognition due to his comprehensive and authoritative work on the living and fossil cycads. He had carved his image as a distinguished cycadologist as well. Besides original research on morphotaxonomy and anatomy of modern cycads like Cycas, Stangeria, Macrozamia etc., he had reviewed modern cycads with a retrospection of their fossil history. In addition, he had reported two cycadaphylls, Chiguites mamalensis, (fossil counterpart of modern Chigua) and Cycadities meyenii from the Permain strata of Kashmir. He also authored the book Cycas and Cycadales and edited another Phyta. In his honour and as a mark of recognition of his versatile academic status thirteen taxa have been named so far after his name. viz., Hepaticites pantie Bose & Pal, a fossil bryophyte; Iso?tes pantie Goswami & Arya, an extant Iycopad; Pantopteris Chandra & Rigby and Dischotomopteris pantie Archangelsky, Césari & C?neo, pteridophylls; Glossopteris pantie Chandra & Surange and Sagittophyllum pantie Chauhan, glossopterid leaves; Birbalsahnia divyadarshanii Bajpai & Maheshwari, a male pteridospermous fuctification; Scutum pantie Srivastava, a glossopterid fructification; Pseudoctenis pantie Joshi, Rigby & Nautiyal, a fossil cycad leaf; Pantophyllum Rigby, a noeggerathiopsid leaf; Brachyphyllum pantii Nautiyal & Srivastava, a fossil conifer; Podocarpoxylon pantii Bera & Sen, a fossil gymnospermous wood and Cocos pantii Misra, a fossil coconut fruit.
Other Contributions: Pant served as Member, Committee for International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, Leningrad; and also Cycad Group Species Survival Commission, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Awards and Honours: Professor Pant was recipient of Medallion by Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (1971); Birbal Sahni Gold Medal by Indian Botanical Society (1976); Biennial International Gold Medal by Palaeobotanical Society (1987); and Birbal Sahni Centenary Gold Medal (1991). Lectureship awards won by him include: Founders Day Lecture by Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science, Pune; Panchanan Maheshwari Memorial Lecture (1971); Birbal Sahni Memorial Lecture (1973); Iyengar Endowment Lecture; JBS Haldane Oration Award and Medal (1988); and TS Sadasivan Lecture by INSA (1990). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Linnean Society of London, Indian Botanical Society, and Palaeobotanical Society; Emeritus Member, International Society for Plant Taxonomists; Honorary Member, International Organization of Palaeobotany; and Honorary Life Member, Cycad Society of South Africa, Australia and USA.