Google on Saturday honoured Asima Chatterjee, the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Science in India with a Doodle. When the doyenne of chemistry was growing up in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the 1920s and 1930s, it was almost unheard of for a woman to study chemistry.
But that did not stop Chatterjee and she not only completed her undergraduate degree in organic chemistry, but also went on to receive a Doctorate of Science in 1944 from the University of Calcutta.
Throughout her career, Chatterjee’s research contributed to the development of drugs that treated epilepsy and malaria.
However, her most noted contribution to the field, was her work on vinca alkaloids. Alkaloids are compounds made from plants, often to treat medical ailments, Google said.
Vinca alkaloids, which come from the Madagascar periwinkle plant, are used today in chemotherapy treatment because they help slow down or stall the multiplying of cancer cells.
For her groundbreaking contributions to medicine, Chatterjee was recognised by universities all over the world.
A Padma Bhushan recipient, she was also the first woman to be elected as the General President of the Indian Science Congress, a premier institution that oversees scientific research.
She won several prestigious awards such as the S.S. Bhatnagar award, the C.V. Raman award, and the P.C. Ray award.
Chatterjee, who breathed her last on November 22, 2006, received numerous accolades from the Indian government, including a nomination to the upper house of Parliament.