History of the Department of Chemistry, Maharajas College

Dr. T. Narayanan

The Chemistry department was formally incepted  in 1935 along with the inauguration  of the Science Block.  Prof. Narasimha Pai was the  First Head of the Department.  The first batch of Graduate students came out during 1936.  In 1938, Dr. K.N. Menon joined as Head of the Department.  In the year 1940, Ernakulam General Hospital was converted to a war hospital.  Consequently the chemistry department took on the responsibility of preparing  distilled water,  NS,  medical formulations like mixture,  tablets,  pills, ointments. tinctures etc.  For this purpose the tiled building adjoining the department was constructed.


After two years, a post graduate diploma course  in pharmaceutics was started.   It was during early 1940s that Prof. I Kamalamma joined  as the First lady lecturer of the department and the second in the college.  After the end of the World War the practice of supplying medicines was stopped.  But the pharmaceutical chemistry course continued.  The course was converted to a full fledged postgraduate course of Applied Chemistry

With two streams of oils and fats and pharmaceutical chemistry during 1950,  the first science postgraduate course was started.  A second PG course in pure chemistry was started during1956

During all these years research work was being done in conjunction with Cambridge University and the illustrious Dr Robinson.  Dr K.N. Menon was his student.  The major part of the structure elucidation work of strychnine and brucine was done here.  Many students had their M.Sc research  from here.  The most famous  among them being Dr K. K. Mathew, former Head of the Department and Principal.  The first ever PhD from here was awarded to Dr. Bhargavi Antharjanam under the guidance of Dr. K. K. Mathew.  She retired as Head of Department on the very next day on which she was awarded the degree.  A graduate course in chemistry with Environment and Water Management was started in 1995 under the sponsorship of UGC which was later converted to a self supported course.  A PG course in Analytical Chemistry was started during 2007