Prof. S. Ramakrishnan is the Chairman of Division of Chemical Sciences and a Professor at the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. His career started off with an unusual experience of working in a Corporate Research laboratory as a Postdoctoral Fellow immediately after his Ph.D. in 1988, at the University of Massachusetts, Amhrest, USA, which provided him a unique opportunity to explore science rather independently. It was followed by getting a break as a Lecturer in IISc, where he enjoyed complete freedom and a congenial academic environment that fostered scientific exploration with little facility to start-with and also few expectations. The following years at IISc included regular promotions, accolades and recognition, outstanding students and colleagues, being a part of several national committees and finally, more institutional responsibilities.
As a researcher, Prof. Ramakrishnan has developed several new strategies for the synthesis of highly branched soluble polymers and provided a fundamental understanding of structure-property correlation of the relatively new class of polymers namely, ‘hyperbranched polymers’ and strategies to control and examine conformation of synthetic polymers in solution using weak intra-chain inter-segment interactions, such as charge-transfer interactions, metal-ion coordination, solvophobic exclusion etc. Further, immiscibility-driven self-segregation in suitably designed amphiphilic graft copolymers was shown to be an excellent strategy for folding of polymer chains, which in turn led to morphological control in the solid state, thereby providing a bridge to the ‘molecular to bulk’ organizational transition in polymeric systems. He has moreover, developed novel methods for control of conjugation length in an important class of polymers, namely MEHPPV, and thereby demonstrated tuning of the emission colour from these potentially useful materials that could be used in polymeric LEDs.
Prof. Ramakrishnan was bestowed a Silver Medal by IIT Bombay for his performance in M.Sc. programme, and later went on to receive many prestigious awards like SS Bhatnagar Prize; CRSI Silver Medal; Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences; DAE-Outstanding Investigator Award, J C Bose Fellow, Associate Editor, Chemical Communications (RSC); Editorial Board member, Macromolecules, ACS Macro Letters and Polymer Chemistry (RSC), to mention some.
In his spare time he likes reading, listening to music, going for long walks and nature trails.