IIT Delhi Establishes Prof N K Jha Chair for Research in Chemistry

Institute Alumni and Their Siblings Endow the Chair in Honour of their Father

New Delhi: Ms Apoorva Jha Bansal, Dr Aparna Jha Ahuja, Mr Rajesh Jha (IIT Delhi alumnus- B. Tech Mechanical, 1982) and Mr Rakesh Jha (IIT Delhi alumnus- B.Tech. Manufacturing, 1994) have endowed a Chair to support research and training in chemistry in honour of their father Prof N K Jha, a former member of the chemistry faculty at IIT Delhi.
Prof N K Jha was amongst the earliest members of the chemistry department starting as a lecturer in 1965 and retiring as professor in 1997 and serving as Head of the Department and Chairman of Departmental Research Committee. Prof Jha is well-known for his work on the discovery of hitherto unknown noble gas compounds that he did for his PhD with Neil Bartlett at the University of British Columbia.
At IIT Delhi, he continued research in Inorganic Chemistry and supervised many post-doctoral fellows, over 20 PhD students, and numerous postgraduates. He also contributed significantly to the Institute community serving as President, Board for Student Welfare, Housemaster and Staff Welfare Scheme Secretary.
Teaching and pedagogy were important to Prof Jha and he was actively involved in guiding curriculum development, setting syllabus, contributing to textbooks through participating in numerous NCERT, UGC, and university committees and workshops.
Speaking on setting up the Chair, Prof Jha’s children said, “It is a privilege for us to establish the Prof N K Jha Chair in honour of our father. His amazing passion for research and teaching, undiminished even today, has been an inspiration to us and to all who have come across him. His lifelong learning, inquisitiveness, openness to new ideas, joy in discovery and research, dedication to teaching and sharing of knowledge has been the best lesson for us. He spent close to 35 years of his highly productive career in the Chemistry department of IIT Delhi. We hope that the establishment of this Chair will further advance research and teaching in the department, which has always been dear to our father.”
The chemistry department at IIT Delhi is amongst the foremost chemistry departments in the country. A key objective of the department is to create quality human resources at various levels. In addition to the PhD program, the department offers two years programs leading towards MSc and MTech degrees. The two hundred odd researchers research all major areas of chemistry and allied sciences. The department offers a vibrant atmosphere to students and faculty to nurture the spirit of scientific inquiry and to pursue cutting-edge research in a highly encouraging environment.
Prof Narayanan Kurur, Head, Department of Chemistry said, “It is a pleasure to establish the Prof N K Jha Chair in Chemistry. Prof Jha has been a distinguished faculty member from 1965-1997 and a well-known researcher in the field of inorganic chemistry. We acknowledge the pledge of Apoorva Jha Bansal, Aparna Jha Ahuja, Rajesh Jha and Rakesh Jha to make this possible. The confidence of the benefactors in the department inspires us, and their generosity propels us forward.”
Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi added, “We hope that Prof Jha’s dedication towards teaching and research inspires every occupant of this Chair to give their best to the Institute and the Country. There can be no better way to honour the legacy of a parent and we are grateful to Prof Jha’s children for such a wonderful gesture.”
Prof Jha’s daughter Apoorva Jha Bansal is a chemistry graduate from Delhi University and an MBA from the University of Southern California. She has worked in a variety of domains including airlines, advertising, movies and finance.
Aparna Jha Ahuja did her MBBS, MD from the Delhi University and has held a variety of roles in clinical practice, research, and academia. She was the Worldwide Vice President, Medical Affairs at Becton Dickinson and is now the Chief Medical Officer at T2 BioSystems, USA.
IIT Delhi alumnus Rajesh Jha worked as Research Engineer at McMaster University, Canada after completing his B. Tech from the Institute. For over 30 years he has been involved in software development for the Canadian defence industry of which the last 10 years have been as Director of Engineering.
Rakesh Jha (B. Tech, Manufacturing, 1994, IIT Delhi) completed his MBA from IIM Lucknow and has since been with ICICI Bank, where he is currently the Group CFO.

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