Tiruvenkata Rajendra Seshadri received PhD (1930) from University of Manchester, UK, and PhD (hc) from the universities of Andhra, Banaras, Delhi and Osmania. He worked as Professor of Chemistry, Andhra University, Waltair (1937-49); also Head and Emeritus Professor, Department of Chemistry and Centre for Advanced Study for the Chemistry of Natural Products (1949-75), University of Delhi, Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: Professor Seshadri had deep interest in natural products chemistry. His chief contributions were in oxygen heterocyclics, which began with the isolation and structure elucidation of the flavonoid pigments of Indian plants both aglucones and glucosides. He developed methods of methylation to facilitate the degradative study of the aglucones to get an insight into the structure of glucosides. His studies covered essentially methylation of anthoxanthins and glycosides, oxidative and selective demethylation; nuclear oxidation, reduction, hydrogenation and dehydrogenation; anthocyanins, leucoanthocyanidins and quinonoid anhydro bases; nuclear methylation, allylation and prenylation; Wesley-Moser rearrangement; Algar-Flynn-Oyamada reaction and reactions of chalcone epoxides; synthesis of furanochromones, chromeno-chromones and chromeno-flavones, flavonones, and isoflavonones of some interesting plants, viz. Pongamia glabra, Psoralea corylifolia, and Gosspium sp.; neoflavonoids, cyanomaclurin, biflavonyls, pterocarpans, santalin pigments, bicoumarinyl, flavonolignanas, C-glycosides; and chemistry of lichen substances, terpenoids and theories of biogenesis.
Other Contributions: Seshadri was on the Editorial Board of the then Indian Journal of Chemistry and contributed enormously for improving the journal.
Awards and Honours: Professor Seshadri was conferred many awards, notably: SS Bhatnagar Medal and Meghnad Saha Medal by INSA; Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray Medal and Acharya Gnanendra Ghosh Medal by Indian Chemical Society; Padma Bhushan (1963); Cooch-Behar Professorship of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata; and Honorary Professorships of Andhra and Osmania universities. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He was President of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Indian Chemical Society, Indian Pharmaceutical Association, Oil Technology Association, Royal Institute of Chemistry, London (Chairman, North India Section), Indian Pharmaceutical Congress, Indian Science Congress (1966-67), and INSA (1967-68). He also headed the Governing bodies of CSIR, ICMR, etc. Lectureship awards won by him include: HK Sen Lecture by Institution of Chemists (India); BC Guha Lecture by ISCA; BM Singh Lecture by Panjab University; and K Venkataraman Lecture by University of Bombay.
The Indian National Science Academy has instituted ‘Professor Tiruvenkata Rajendra Seshadri Seventieth Birthday Commemoration Medal’ in his honour.