Srinivasa Ramanujam received Ph D (1937) from University of London, UK. He served as Second Economic Botanist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi (1938-46); and also Director, Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), (1946-51, 1952-56), Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack (1951-52), and Agricultural Research, Government of Bihar, Patna (1956-66).
Academic and Research Achievements: Ramanujam’s main contribution to Indian agriculture was in the field of cytogenetics and plant breeding. He and his team identified and studied, for the first time in India, haploids, triploids and tetraploids in rice from the point of view of their usefulness in plant breeding; and obtained artificial mutations by irradiation of seeds. A cytological survey of a group of plants to which rice (Oryza sativa) belongs shed light on the origin of the genus Oryza and its genetic composition. He and his coworkers also produced polyploids of a number of Indian crop plants by the use of colchicine. Furthermore, they identified and studied several artificially induced and naturally occurring mutations in a number of crop plants like chilli, gram, and mustard.
Other Contributions: As the first Director of CPRI, Dr Ramanujam put it on a strong foundation. He was also Member of the Genetical Society of Great Britain and British Association for the Advancement of Science.
Awards and Honours: Dr Ramanujam was President, Botany Section, Indian Science Congress (1952). He was Founder Member (also President) of the Indian Society of Genetics and Plant Breeding.