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11 Must-Know Facts About Asima Chatterjee

Her publications are extensively cited and most of her work is included in several textbooks

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Asima Chatterjee was the first Indian woman to hold a doctorate. Wikimedia Commons
Asima Chatterjee was the first Indian woman to hold a doctorate. Wikimedia Commons
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Asima Chatterjee was an organic chemist noted for her work in organic chemistry and phytomedicine. She also authored a considerable volume of work on medicinal plants, also she was the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Science from an Indian university. On 23rd September 2017 (her 100th birth anniversary), Google honoured her with a Google doodle. 

Here are 11 facts about Asima Chatterjee you must know: 

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1. Asima Chatterjee’s research primarily focused on the medicinal properties of Indian plants and contributed to developing drugs that treated epilepsy and malaria.

2. One of her most esteemed discoveries came in the field of vinca alkaloids which are used in chemotherapy today.

3. Her achievements won her many prestigious accolades including received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1961) and the Padma Bhushan (1975) – one of the highest civilian awards bestowed by the Indian government.

4. In 1944, she was appointed as an Honorary Lecturer in Chemistry, Calcutta University. In 1947, she worked with L.M. Parks University of Wisconsin, USA.

Calcutta University became her permanent address until her death in 2006. Wikimedia Commons
Calcutta University became her permanent address until her death in 2006. Wikimedia Commons

5. Asima Chatterjee was appointed Reader in the Department of Pure Chemistry, Calcutta University in 1954. It also became her permanent address until her death.

6. In 1962, Asima Chatterjee became the 10 Khaira Professor of Chemistry, one of the most prestigious and coveted Chairs of the Calcutta University which she adorned till 1982 and was the first woman scientist to adorn a chair of any
University in India.

7. In 1975, she became the first woman to be appointed the general president of the Indian Science Congress.

8. Asima Chatterjee also established a Regional Research Institute for carrying out research on Indian medicinal plants for the development of Ayurvedic drugs along with an Ayurvedic Hospital for systematic clinical trials through a unique Centre-State collaboration, under the aegis of the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha in Salt Lake City, Kolkata.

ALSO READ: 12 Facts About Nain Singh Rawat

9. Asima Chatterjee developed the anti-epileptic drug, Ayush-56 from Marsilia minuta, also the anti-malarial drug from Alstonia scholaris, Swrrtia chirata, Picrorphiza kurroa and Ceasalpinna crista. These patented drugs have been marketed by several companies.

10. Chatterjee had published 400 papers in national and international journals. Her publications are extensively cited and most of her work is included in several textbooks.

11. It is said that she developed the interest in medicinal plants because of her father, Dr Indra Narayan Mukherjee, a medical man cum amateur.

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Number of Students Opting for Science or Tech Are On Rise in India

India leads the world in the number of students getting bachelors degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

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Sydney-based University of New South Wales (UNSW) has instituted 61 scholarships to attract
Representational Image, Pixabay

India leads the world in the number of students getting bachelors degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Of about 5 million students who received their bachelor’s degrees in 2012 in STEM subjects worldwide, 29.2 per cent were from India, UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2018 released on Tuesday said.

China came next with 26 per cent of the STEM graduates. The EU accounted for 9.5 per cent of STEM graduates that year and the US for 6 per cent, the report said.

The report used statistics from 2012 and said the total number of bachelors-equivalent degrees awarded that year was 20 million.

The wide gulf in the numbers of students graduating in STEM explains why the US relies on such a large number of foreigners, especially Indians, to fill its technology workforce needs.

“Many countries are witnessing skills shortages in the fields of digital technologies and many employers report difficulties in filling high-skill vacancies,” UNCTAD said, citing a 2016 worldwide survey by ManpowerGroup on talent shortage that found that 40 per cent of employers reported difficulties in filling positions.

So, if your child is preparing for IIT-JEE or NEET from any of the reputed centres like Aakash Institute, as a parent, it's your responsibility to help your child find the right study time
study, representational image, Pixabay

According to India’s University Grants Commission, 10.7 million students were studying science, engineering/technology or computer science in 2016-17, although it did not give a breakdown between undergraduate and postgraduate levels or by year of study.

They made up 36 per cent of those studying in universities and colleges, UGC statistics showed.

Looking to the future, UNCTAD cautioned that “there were indications that educational institutions were not keeping pace with technological advances during the current transition period”.

It urged educational institutions to “react with agility” to the rapid pace of technology and the labour market changes and said this may require “significant transformations” in the education and training systems.

With the widespread use of artificial intelligence and robots looming on the horizon, the report said that “rapid technological progress required the labour force to develop a broader range of skills, focusing on humans’ comparative advantage, to increase employability”.

Also Read: India-Trained ‘Wrongly Educated’ Monks Banned by China

UNCTAD called for broadbasing education and said: “In the new technological landscape, there is a need for generic, core or fundamental skills such as literacy, numeracy and academic skills, together with basic financial and entrepreneurial skills and increasingly, basic digital and even coding skills.” (IANS)