Rabindra Nath Mukherjee earned his BSc and MSc degrees from Burdwan University, after which he joined Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry as a PhD student. He worked on transition metal chemistry and electrochemistry under the supervision of Animesh Chakravorty and obtained his PhD (1983) from the Calcutta University. He continued in the same laboratory as a post-doctoral Research Associate (1983-85) and worked on bioinorganic chemistry in the group of RH Holm of Harvard University (1985-87) also as a post-doctoral Research Associate. On returning to India, Mukherjee joined Department of Chemistry, IIT Kanpur as an Assistant Professor, he rose to the position of Associate Professor (1993) and Professor (1995).
Academic and Research Achievements: At IIT Kanpur, Mukherjee started both teaching (general chemistry, transition metal chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, frontiers in inorganic chemistry) and research. Synthetic coordination chemistry of transition metal ions and ligand design is central to his work. His research covers extensive synthesis, molecular (X-ray structure) and electronic (magnetic and spectroscopic) structural characterisation, investigation of reactivity (chemical and redox) and understanding of metal-ligand bonding characteristics (DFT calculations). His key research findings are: Discovery of new Fe (II) spin-equilibria systems; Design of functional models of tyrosinase; Stabilization of Ni (III) and Ni (IV); Use of Cu (II)-coordinated hydroxide ion as nucleophile for the hydrolysis of ethyl acetate; Stabilization of metal-coordinated ligand radical, etc. He has published over 135 research articles, written a chapter on Copper in a series Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry II: From Biology to Nanotechnogogy (Elsevier, 2004). Mukherjee has mentored a large number of students including 23 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Mukherjee is a Member of the Advisory Board of Dalton Transactions (Royal Society of Chemistry; 2008-09) and International Editorial Board of Research Letters in Inorganic Chemistry. He has edited Bioinorganic Chemistry of Dinuclear Copper Proteins and Proceedings of Indian National Science Academy, Part A, Physical Sciences (2004) and is Vice-President of Chemical Research Society of India, Bangalore (2008-11).
Awards and Honours: Professor Mukherjee has been conferred on Ajit Memorial Lectureship (1999), received CRSI Bronze Medal (2001), and is a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (2003). He is the recipient of AV Rama Rao Foundation Prize Lectureship, JNCASR, Bangalore (2005), Bimala Churn Law Memorial Lectureship at IACS, Kolkata (2008), and the JC Bose Fellowship (2008-13). He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1999).