Harjit Singh got BSc, MSc (Hons School), and PhD under the guidance of KS Narang from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He was Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Paul J Scheuer at the University of Hawaii (1965-67) and worked on the synthesis of marine quinone pigments; and with A Meyers at Louisiana State University, New Orleans (1967-68) to study the use of heterocycles in organic synthesis. He was Lecturer, Panjab University (1964-70), Associate Professor, PAU Ludhiana (1970-73), and Reader (1973-76) and Professor (1976-98) at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar where he continues to be Professor Emeritus. He was also INSA Senior Scientist (2003-08).
Academic and Research Achievements: Harjit Singh focused his researches on the development of newer organic synthetic methodologies to achieve rationally designed targeted receptors for host-guest interactions. Using rationally designed 1,3-heterocycles as tetrahydrofolate coenzyme models for carbon transfer reactions, advantageous synthesis of a variety of structural targets were achieved. In the area of host-guest chemistry, a variety of cyclophanes and podands were designed and synthesized for targeted objectives through modeling. Their modes of non-covalent interactions with metal cations and neutral organic guests were also studied. His pioneering work in design and synthesis of heterocalixarenes, their conformational analysis and receptor character has opened new vistas of research in supramolecular chemistry. Besides teaching, he guided 25 PhD and many postdoctoral students.
Other Contributions: As Dean, Academic Affairs, Dean, Faculty of Sciences, Head, Department of Chemistry, and Coordinator, UGC Special Assistance Programme, he ensured many development programmes at GNDU. He has been on the Editorial boards of Indian Journal of Chemistry, and Proceedings (Chemical Sciences) of the Indian Academy of Sciences. He was a Member of the INSA Council.
Awards and Honours: Professor Harjit Singh was conferred Basudev Banerjee Memorial Medal and Prize by Indian Chemical Society (1977), the Silver Jubilee Commemoration Plaque (1994) in recognition of his contributions to promote Education and Research by GNDU, Goyal Award and Medal in Chemistry (1997), TR Seshadri 70th Birthday Commemoration Medal by INSA (2000), Silver Medal (2001) and Gold Medal (2009) of the Chemical Research Society of India, RC Shah Memorial Lecture Award (1996), Bawa Kartar Singh Memorial Lecture Award (2003), and 10th Dr Sukh Dev Endowment Lecture Award (2006). He was UGC National Lecture (1986-87) and was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.