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IIT Delhi Sets up a Chair to support chemical research and training efforts

IIT Delhi Sets up a Chair at IIT Delhi to support chemical research and training efforts

Professor NK Jha joined the chemistry faculty in 1965 as a lecturer and was one of the department’s founding members. Many people recognize him for his work on the finding of previously unidentified noble gas molecules. His children have endowed a Chair at IIT Delhi to help fund chemical research and training efforts. Prof N K Jha was a respected member of the faculty from 1965 to 1997 and a well-known researcher in inorganic chemistry. Professor Jha’s daughter Apoorva Jha Bansal holds a BS in chemistry from Delhi University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Key Highlight:

  • Siblings of IIT-Delhi alumni donate a chair at their alma mater in honor of their father, a faculty member at the institute.
  • Prof N K Jha was a respected member of the faculty from 1965 to 1997 and a well-known researcher in inorganic chemistry.
  • His children have endowed a Chair at IIT Delhi to help fund chemical research and training efforts.
  • Professor Jha’s daughter Apoorva Jha Bansal holds a BS in chemistry from Delhi University and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
  • He discovered previously unknown noble gas molecules during his Ph.D. at University of British Columbia, where he also served as a mentor to many postdoctoral fellows, Ph.d. students, and other postgraduates.
  • He actively participated in curriculum creation, syllabus development, textbook production, and university committees and workshops.

Siblings of IIT-Delhi alumni have banded together to donate a chair at their alma mater in honor of their father, a faculty member at the institute.

In honor of their father, Prof N K Jha, a former IIT Delhi chemistry faculty member, Apoorva Bansal, Dr Aparna Jha Ahuja, Rajesh Jha (BTech mechanical 1982) and Rakesh Jha (BTech manufacturing 1994) have endowed a Chair to assist chemistry research and training.

The late Professor NK Jha was one of the founding members of the chemistry department, beginning as a lecturer in 1965 and leaving in 1997 as a professor after acting as the department’s head and chairman of the university’s research committee throughout that time period.

Prof. Jha is well-known for his work with Neil Bartlett during his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, where he discovered previously unknown noble gas molecules.

He continued his Inorganic Chemistry research in IIT Delhi, where he also served as a mentor to many postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students, and other postgraduates. Serving on the Institute’s Board of Student Welfare, Housemaster, and Staff Welfare Scheme Secretary, he greatly impacted the campus community.

Prof Jha cared deeply about teaching and pedagogy. He actively participated in curriculum creation, syllabus development, textbook production, and university committees and workshops sponsored by NCERT, UGC, and the university.

Prof. Jha’s children remarked, “It is an honor for us to establish the Prof N K Jha Chair in memory of our father.” His incredible, even now, dedication to research and teaching has served as an inspiration to us and everyone who has met him. He is a true scholar and teacher. His curiosity, openness to new ideas, joy in discovery and inquiry, and passion for teaching and sharing information have been the most valuable lessons for us. Chemistry at IIT Delhi spent the majority of his long and fruitful career, about 35 years. For our father, it is our goal that the establishment of this Chair will help improve research and teaching in the department.

The department also offers two-year programs leading to the MSc and MTech degrees in addition to the Ph.D. The two-hundred-and-and-and-odd scientists study every major branch of chemistry and related fields. Students and faculty benefit from the department’s vibrant climate, which fosters scientific curiosity and cutting-edge research in a supportive setting..

Professor Narayanan Kurur, the department’s head, remarked, “It is a joy to create the Prof N K Jha Chair in Chemistry.” For the period 1965-1997, Prof Jha served as an esteemed faculty member and was a well-respected inorganic chemist researcher. We appreciate Apoorva Jha Bansal, Aparna Jha Ahuja, Rajesh Jha, and Rakesh Jha’s commitment to making this happen. The trust and generosity of the department’s benefactors motivate us.”

Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Director of IIT Delhi, said, “We hope Prof. Jha’s passion for teaching and research motivates every occupant of this Chair to offer their best to the Institute and the Country.” No better way exists to honor a parent’s memory than this, and we are grateful to Prof Jha’s children for making this thoughtful gift to the community.

Apoorva Jha Bansal, Prof. Jha’s daughter, earned a BS in chemistry from Delhi University and an MBA from the University of Southern California. There are several industries where she’s worked, including airline marketing and advertising and film and finance. Aparna Jha Ahuja graduated from Delhi University with an MBBS and MD and has worked in clinical practice, research, and academia throughout her career. As a former Worldwide Vice President of Becton Dickinson Medical Affairs, she now serves as Chief Medical Officer at T2 Biosystems, USA.

After earning his BTech from IIT Delhi, Rajesh Jha worked as a Research Engineer at McMaster University in Canada. He has worked in software development for the Canadian defense industry for over 30 years, the last 10 of those as Director of Engineering.

After earning his B. Tech. in Manufacturing from IIT Delhi in 1994 and his MBA from IIM Lucknow, Rakesh Jha joined ICICI Bank, currently the Group CFO.

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