Asoke Mookherjee obtained his PhD (1964) from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur specializing in economic geology, ore geochemistry; mineral economics. He was the NSF Visiting Scientist at Lehigh University, USA (1965); NRC Visiting Scientist, University of W Ontario, Canada (1966-67); and at University of Heidelberg, Germany (1986). He later served as the Professor of Geology, and Dean, Academic Affairs and students’ Affairs, IIT, Kharagpur; Emeritus Scientist (CSIR), Jadavpur University, Calcutta.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Asoke Mookherjee has been well known for his outstanding scientific contributions of lasting value spacing over four decades. His major contributions can be summarized as follows: the earliest applications of trace element geochemistry to infer the source, origin, temperature of formation and the progressive changes in the composition of the ore-fluid; the first attempt to reconstruct the physicochemical ambience of mineralization quantitatively in terms of intrinsic parameters; to retrieve natural processes from ‘frozen’ records in minerals etc. His experimental demonstration of the efficacy of chloride complexing helped in resolving the then (1960s) vexing paradox of simultaneous transfer of metals and reduced S ions in the same ore fluid has been hailed as an outstanding contribution that has been exhaustively cited in text and reference books. The first authentic documentation of sulfide melting at dyke contact also stands to his credit. Professor Mookherjee’s research contributions on metamorphism of sulfide ores during the ‘60s and ‘70s are of such lasting value that these were chosen as the central theme of two international special publications during the late’80s (Ore Geology Reviews, 1987) and during the ‘90s (Mineralogical Magazine, 1993) in which virtually every paper discussed his work. His interpretations of ore textures through chemical mass balance and equilibrium considerations and the rationale of space-time convergence and exclusivity of minerlaization in the context of regional metallogeny are equally important and are highly acclaimed. His series of publications on rare minerals from Rajpura-Dariba deposits constitute a model example of systematic in-depth mineralogical investigation and a new mineral ‘Rayite’ (approved by International Mineralogical Association), was discovered by him and named after his teacher Professor Santosh Kumar Ray.
Other Contributions: Chairman, National Committee for International Union of Geological Sciences (1988-); Sub-area Coordinator, Indo-USSR Long-Term Collaborative Research Project in Earth Sciences. Mookherjee authored Ore Genesis - A Holistic Approach (Allied Publishers, 1999)
Awards and Honours: Mookherjee received the S Narayanaswamy Award (Geological Society of India) (1985); UGC National Lecturer (1986); National Mineral Award (1987-88); NN Chatterjee Medal (Asiatic Society) (1965); S Ray Memorial Lecture (Presidency College, Kolkata) (1985); NN Chatterjee Memorial Lecture (Geological Mineralogical and Mettalurgical Society of India) (1988). He was the Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and Geological Society of India; Foundation Fellow, West Bengal Academy of Sciences and Technology.