Ajay Bose, longtime Stevens chemistry professor, dies at 85

Bose was internationally known for his research on antibiotics, natural products, and microwave-assisted chemistry


HOBOKEN, N.J. - Ajay K. Bose, a Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology from 1959 until his retirement in 2007, died Friday, February 12, after a long illness. He was 85 and lived in Forks Township. Bose was known for his work in synthetic penicillin and chemistry. He lived 41 years in Mountain Lakes, N.J.

Bose was the winner of the 1999 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring and the Dreyfus Award of the American Chemical Society for his work with disadvantaged children in the Hoboken area. He was the recipient of many teaching and research awards including the 1997 Catalyst Award for chemistry teachers and the Ranbaxy Foundation Award for excellence in research in the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

“Professor Bose worked tirelessly to provide learning opportunities and career paths to undergraduate students at Stevens, particularly in the fields of chemistry and medicine. He was also a great mentor to many junior faculty over the years, including myself,” said Michael Bruno, Dean of Stevens’ Schaefer School of Engineering and Science.

Bose was internationally known for his research on antibiotics, natural products and microwave-assisted chemistry. He mentored 35 doctoral students and more than 90 post-doctorals and visiting scientists from many parts of the world. He held seven patents and coauthored about 350 research publications and two books. According to the Citation Index, his papers on microwave-assisted chemistry have been cited more than 500 times.

In 1972, Bose founded Undergraduate Projects in Technology and Medicine (UPTAM) – a unique research program he directed for 32 years. UPTAM and its pre-college version have enriched the career opportunities for several hundred talented undergraduates and high school students. In recent years much of UPTAM research has involved microwave chemistry.

"Ajay Bose was a creative and tireless scientist who pursued his research with exceptional zeal,” said Dilhan Kalyon, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Highly Filled Materials Institute at Stevens. “On many occasions, when he would run into another faculty member, he would immediately describe his latest findings and the discussion would generally expand and be continued on his black board, with the rest of his team invited to participate. During the last decade of his life, he especially valued his advancements in green chemistry on the basis of his use of microwaves for solventless reactions.”

A native of Silchar, India, Bose came to the United States in 1947 shortly after earning his undergraduate degree at Allahabad University in India. He received a doctorate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and did post-doctoral work at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.

He met his future wife, Margaret, not long after moving to the United States. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary later this year. They maintained a home in Forks Township since 1996 and had lived there fulltime since 2007. The Indian Chemical Society gave Bose a lifetime achievement award in 2006.

In addition to his wife, survivors include: sons Ryan, of Tampa, Fla., Ranjan, of Mountain Lakes, N.J., and Rajendra, of New York City; daughters Indrani Malinowski, of Boonton, N.J., Indira Winders, of Palmer Township, and Krishna King, of Forks; and 11 grandchildren. A private memorial service is being planned.

About Stevens Institute of Technology
Founded in 1870 and celebrating 140 Years of Innovation, Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University, is one of the leading technological universities in the world dedicated to learning and research. Through its broad-based curricula, nurturing of creative inventiveness, and cross disciplinary research, the Institute is at the forefront of global challenges in engineering, science, and technology management. Partnerships and collaboration between, and among, business, industry, government and other universities contribute to the enriched environment of the Institute. A new model for technology commercialization in academe, known as Technogenesis®, involves external partners in launching business enterprises to create broad opportunities and shared value.

Stevens offers baccalaureates, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science and management, in addition to a baccalaureate degree in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university has a total enrollment of 2,234 undergraduate and 3,700 graduate students with more than 400 faculty. Stevens’ graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at www.stevens.edu.

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