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NIU chemist honored by his peers with a special journal issue

June 19, 2018

In honor of his scientific achievements, a special issue of the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry was dedicated to NIU chemistry professor Narayan Hosmane in the occasion of his 70th birthday.

“It is a great honor for me to read a dedicated special issue of the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry with 33 papers, along with five additional dedicated journal articles published recently,” he said.

Collectively, the pieces speak to how influential Hosmane has been to the field of study. What isn’t visible is the journey he’s embarked on.

Growing up as a disadvantaged youth in India, education proved to be a life-changer for the NIU scientist. An assistantship to the University of Edinburgh set a course that the distinguished professor continues on today.

“As a student interested in a science subject, I was reading Alfred Stock’s book on Silicon Hydrides and Boron Hydrides. His work fascinated me to do research in these areas.”

Stock had died in 1946, so Hosmane contacted his student, Harry Emeleus of Cambridge University to inquire about conducting research under his tutelage. Emeleus was just about to retire, but he referred the aspiring scientist to contact his student, Evelyn A V Ebsworth at the University of Edinburgh.

While the assistantships were primarily for Scottish students, Hosmane had a stroke of good fortune.

“I received the assistantship and joined the University of Edinburgh in October 1971 as a Ph.D. student of Professor Ebsworth and completed my degree in September 1974.”

“Throughout my career I met many accomplished people, including Nobel Prize winners, Mother Teresa and the great Sanskrit Scholar Brahmarshi Daivaratha Sharma and all of them said that ‘we must please ourselves by setting a high-bar and bring a smile on our face rather than trying to please others, as others will never be satisfied with our performances.’ Those words were so true when I started my academic career.”

Boron chemistry developed in the mid-20thcentury, with Hosmane’s research programs at Southern Methodist University and NIU contributing to its significance. Success came with highs and lows.

“My first paper in the inaugural issue of an American Chemical Society journal “Organometallics” was rejected,” he said. “The rejection did not discourage me, instead it made me determined to publish my next work in Organometallics.”

Hosmane’s determination paid off. He went on to publish nearly 60 papers in Organometallics alone. Two decades after rejecting Hosmane’s first paper, the journal’s founding editor approached him to write an unprecedented review article. The scientist obliged, and was surprised when the founding editor complemented his body of research in his column.

A prolific researcher, Hosmane has published over 350 papers in leading scientific journals and author of five books on boron science, cancer therapies, general chemistry, advanced inorganic chemistry and boron chemistry in organometallics, catalysis, materials and medicine.

Recognized as one of the leading experts on boron chemistry and decorated with numerous national and international awards, one particular accolade is highly prized.

“In 2012 I received a note from Professor Ebsworth. His appreciation of my accomplishments is more than any prize one can get in a lifetime!”

The quest of scientific knowledge is still strong at age 70. Hosmane, who has been at NIU since 1998, is committed to exploring boron’s capabilities regarding cancer treatment and the mentorship of young, talented scientists.