Aditya Narain Purohit obtained BSc and MSc degrees from Agra University. Thereafter, he worked in the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun and then joined the Faculty at Panjab University, Chandigarh (1963) where he obtained PhD (1968). Subsequently, he worked at Central Potato Research Institute, Simla; University of British Columbia, Canada; North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong; and HNB Garhwal University (1977) where he served as Professor and Director of High Altitude Plant Physiology Research Center and finally as its Vice-Chancellor; Director, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India (1990-95); and Special Chair to work on conservation and development of medicinal and aromatic plants in Uttaranchal upon superannuation from HNB Garhwal University.
Academic and Research Achievements: Purohit worked out dynamics of shoot elongation and expansion showing recurrent growth patterns and appreciable histological changes in the shoot apex during longest period of dormancy leading to onset of reproductive phase in trees. He showed that high concentration of CO2 inhibits flowering in classical short day plants and induces flowering in long day plants. He reported for the first time that CO2 enrichment affects viral multiplication. He also demonstrated a close relationship between photosystem I and onset of generative phase, which he explained in terms of the energy requirement as a prelude to generative phase. He proposed that evocation in leaves leading to the onset of floral induction starts with biophysical process(es) relating to the excitation of molecules in response to light and oxidation-reduction state of reaction centre pigments.
Other Contributions: Professor Purohit established a High Altitude Plant Physiology Research Centre, with its alpine field station at 13000 ft. He prepared the document 'Action Plan for Himalaya', a base document for sustainable development of the Himalayan region. He established a Centre for Aromatic Plants in Dehradun. He was Member of the Board of Governors, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Nepal (1991-97); Initial Organizing Committee of International Mountain Forum (1995-97); and INSA Council (2000-02). He was also on the Editorial Board of J Sustainable Forestry, USA.
Awards and Honours: Professor Purohit was conferred Padma Shri (1997), SISCO Award (1992), Seth Memorial Award, Indian Society of Tree Scientists (1992), Vir Keshri Environment-conservation Award (1996), Om Prakash Bhashin Foundation Award (1996), RD Asana Lecturership Award by ICAR (1998) and Birbal Sahni Birth Centenary Award (2002-03). He was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi and President, Society for Plant Physiology & Biochemistry, India.