Dr. Eluvathingal Devassy Jemmis, a former Professor and Dean of the School of Chemistry at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been selected for the award of the prestigious Padma Shri for the year 2014 in Science and Engineering category by the Government of India.
Dr. Jemmis, after obtaining his BSc from University College, Thiruvananthapuram and St Thomas College, Thrissur and MSc from IIT Kanpur, joined Princeton University (1973) under the supervision of Profs Paul von Rague Schleyer and John Pople (1998 Nobel Laureate). He was awarded the PhD degree (1978) from Princeton. After a two-year post-doctoral work at Cornell University with Professor Roald Hoffmann (1981 Nobel Laureate), he joined the School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad (1980) rising to the rank of Professor (1990) and Dean (2002). Jemmis was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Canberra (1991) and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Computational Quantum Chemistry of the University of Georgia, Athens (2000). Dr. Jemmis is an honorary Professor at JNCASR and Adjunct Professor at ICTS-TIFR. In 2005 he accepted an invitation from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and joined the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry. In 2008 Dr. Jemmis moved again, this time on a five year deputation, accepting the responsibility to start the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram.
His primary area of research is applied theoretical chemistry with emphasis on structure, bonding and reactivity, across the periodic table of the elements. Apart from many of his contributions to applied theoretical chemistry, an equivalent of the structural chemistry of carbon, as exemplified by the Huckel 4n+2 Rule, benzenoid aromatics and graphite, and tetrahedral carbon and diamond, is brought in the structural chemistry of boron by the Jemmis mno rules which relates polyhedral and macropolyhedral boranes to allotropes of boron and boron-rich solids. Jemmis is engaged in the study of structure and reactivity of molecules, clusters and solids using theoretical methods. The Jemmis mno rules for polyhedral boranes have found a place in textbooks and are being taught in Inorganic Chemistry Courses in leading educational institutions around the world. Just as the basic tenets of the structural chemistry of carbon has stood the test of time, and led to major developments in carbon, the edifice of the structural chemistry expounded by Jemmis has already begun to do so for boron. Several of his predictions have been proved experimentally. He has mentored more than 20 PhD students and several postdoctoral and students and research associates, and published about 200 research articles.