Kailasam Venkatesan earned his MSc (1953) from Annamalai University after which he joined the Physics Department at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He worked in the area of X-ray crystallography under the guidance of S Ramaseshan. In 1955, he was awarded AIISc (Associate of IISc) for his thesis on Crystal Structure Determination of Ammonium Perchlorate. He pursued his research for PhD working mainly on the solution of the phase problem in crystals with center of symmetry, using the phenomenon of anomalous dispersion effects exhibited when the incident wavelength is close to the absorption edge of a heavy atom. From 1959 to 1962, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher first in the Organic Chemistry Department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (with JD Dunitz), and later at the Chemical Crystallography Laboratory, Oxford University (with Dorothy Hodgkin). He worked in the Department of Crystallography and Biophysics (1962-71), Department of Organic Chemistry, IISc (1972- 92), and as INSA Senior Scientist (1992-97) after his retirement. His research interests were concerned with the conformations of biologically relevant peptide molecules, structive-reactivity relationship of photo induced organic molecules in crystals and crystal engineering.
Academic and Research Achievements: Venkatesan had deep interest in the areas of solid state photochemistry and crystal engineering. He solved the three dimensional structure of cobyric acid, nucleus of Vitamin B12. He has also done conformational investigations of biologically relevant di- and tri- peptides. He has authored over 175 research articles and edited two books. During his long research career spanning over three decades, he mentored a large number of PhD students.
Awards and Honours: Venkatesan was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1981).